Vancouver Island fishermen see prices for spot prawns rise out of COVID-19 pandemic


Family businesses don’t come much more uniquely Vancouver Island than Crystal Thompson’s.

The Cowichan woman sold fresh BC.. spot prawns on the Ladysmith Docks Monday that had just been caught on her cousin’s boat, all with her baby and two-year old daughter looking on.

“I grew up on the docks, like our whole family, we come from a fishing family so being able to have them experience this is amazing,” said Crystal Thompson, a Cowichan Tribes member.

The spot prawn season is brief, usually a month long, but according to fishermen it can be lucrative.

“It’s short but sweet I guess,” said Cowichan fisherman Cory Thompson.

That is until COVID-19 shut down Vancouver Island fishermen’s biggest export markets in China and Japan, and closed restaurants in 2020, cutting prices for this catch by 50 per cent.

Now with the re-opening underway, spot prawn prices are coming back up. Campbell River fisherman Daniel Smith told CHEK News he’s getting pre-pandemic prices of $12 to $15 per pound now selling to Vancouver buyers.

“Yes. The price is increasing. It’s probably due to more restaurants opening and the world is opening again so it gives us opportunities to sell more,” said fisherman Daniel Smith.

“Nothing’s really that sure, you know. So that’s why I decided to do the dock sales was that I didn’t really know what was going to happen price-wise,” said fisherman Cory Thompson.

Spot prawn lovers have been packing totes and coming from all over Vancouver Island for two weeks so far for the catch that’s as fresh as it gets.

“Everybody wants to support local. It’s amazing how much the demand is out there,” said Crystal Thompson.

Selling at the docks was a pivot prompted by COVID-19, and the Thompson family plans to continue even once the pandemic is over — finding support from the local market that they’d never known was there.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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