As of May 15, spot prawn season is on. The season is short and sweet, usually four to six weeks, but they’re highly sought after.
“They’re quite luscious, they’re very buttery and creamy,” said Bob Fraumeni, owner-operator of Finest At Sea.
“This prawn is touted as one of the best on planet Earth. There really is no other prawn that’s as highly regarded as a spot prawn.”
Day and night when the season is open, Fraumeni’s fishermen and women are out setting traps, catching spot prawns, bringing them from Fisherman’s Wharf across the street to their store.
“They’re busy, oh yeah. You do not miss one minute,” said Fraumeni.
Their sweet delicate flavour is hugely foraged from the Chinese and Japanese markets. Fraumeni says though, in the last decade they’ve been selling more spot prawns locally.
“You know it’s really taken off. When I first started fishing no one was buying local,” said Fraumeni. “There’s been a movement towards getting what’s fresh and it’s wonderful that so many people are embracing it. It’s so much better for us, we don’t have to freeze and ship them.”
Right now, the spot prawns being caught by Finest At Sea are being stockpiled to sell to a hyper-local market.
“Everything we catch today and tomorrow will be sharing around James Bay,” said Fraumeni.
Finest At Sea is providing all the spot prawns available at this year’s Spot Prawn Festival which runs Saturday and Sunday May 27 and 28 at MacDonald Park in James Bay from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
The event is all-ages, dog friendly, and is raising money for the James Bay Athletic Association. A rugby tournament runs in the afternoon.
“We’ll have over 1000 pounds of prawns on site,” said Mike Roma, project manager of CCGF Events, who is coordinating the event.
Last year around 10,000 people showed up to the one-day event, lining up for hours. This year the event has expanded to be all weekend, with more music and food options.
“Last year we had 22 vendors so we’re seeing an exponential increase, and we’ve doubled the talent and entertainment that will be here,” said Roma. The event is expecting 70-80 vendors this year.