Posts Tagged ‘BC prawns’

Third Annual Spot Prawn Festival at Granville Island

Monday, May 4th, 2009
Spot Prawn by closari

Spot Prawn by closari

With the spot prawn fishing season for opening, May 8th it seems The Chefs’ Table Society has chosen to waste no time and is holding its third annual Spot Prawn Festival May 9th from 12pm-3pm. Preparing their special spot prawn dishes. This is a great opportunity to get some delicious ideas for preparing spot prawns and if the reports from last year are any indication the work that these chef’s do, is both beautiful and tasty.

The list of chefs participating this year includes: Warren Geraghty of West; John Bishop of Bishops; Francois Gagnon of Cin Cin; Don Dickson of South China Seas; Rob Feenie of Cactus Club; Dino Rinearts of Diva at the Met; Jean-Francis & Alessandra Quaglia of Provence Restaurants; Nico Scheurmans of Chambar; and Alana Peckham from Cru.

This year they are doing things a little bit differently and will be having cooking demonstrations at Granville Island at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on May 9th, 10th and 16th. Extending the festivities to branch clear into the following weekend. This is a great opportunity to get familiar with cooking this local and sustainable seafood!

Not only that but Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery, as the official wine sponsor of the BC Spot Prawn Festival, will donate 50 cents of each bottle of wine sold at partner restaurants during the Spot Prawn season to support the Chefs Table Society and the Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Program. Which is a great excuse not only to eat great prawns but also to enjoy some local wine! Hallelujah, what a combination!

Alas if only the stars aligned I would be there! Eat some prawns and snap some pictures for me if you’re there!

Prawns – A West Coast 100 Mile Diet Ingredient

Monday, April 6th, 2009

The 100-Mile Diet was a great experiment started by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, it’s amazing the uptake and excitement that this book and idea has caused. In a nutshell, the 100-Mile Diet is commitment to eat food that comes from within 100 miles (160 kilometers) of where you live. It’s a great example of thinking globally and acting locally. A real world example of the personal changes that will be required to change the environmentally destructive path that we are currently traveling on. It’s amazing how much of our food travels thousands of miles to grace our dinner plates and equally amazing how much great food is available within 100 miles. In a world where marketing seems to matter more than distance, eating locally really is a counter culture thing to do. Globalization of our food system has not only meant that our food is traveling huge distances to get to us it has also meant that we have been disconnected from the food producers, which is a loss for all of us socially. Not only that, with the entire food infrastructure being built up around lower food costs the thing there seems to be less focus on creating great tasting, fresh and healthy eating experiences. The 100 mile diet brings many of these issues into focus.

100 Mile Radius Around Vancouver, BC

100 Mile Radius Around Vancouver, BC


The authors were living in Vancouver, BC and, if you look at their 100 mile radius, you can see that there is a LOT of ocean in that circle (if you’re interested to check out your 100 mile radius they’ve built a great tool to help you see what 100 miles from your home includes). As a consequence, being able to find local food from the sea became one of the protein sources for the original 100-mile diet. For them that meant haunting the local docks to see what seafood was becoming available and buying and preserving that food for the long winter ahead. You can read the adventures of the authors as they bought and cooked up a batch of fresh prawns during their year of eating locally.

As a local food for people throughout the West Coast of Canada prawns can be one of their go-to seafoods. Prawns are caught up and down the coast, so there is very likely a fisher who is catching prawns nearby. And while prawns are delicious fresh they can also be easily frozen and preserved for weeks and even months with very little ill affect making them available to see as a local food throughout the winter. That said at the moment there are only a few fisherman who maintain a stock of frozen spot prawns through the winter so if you are interested in having local seafood through the winter your best bet is to stock up during the fishing season, or get in touch and we can source some frozen prawns from our network of fishers.

While spot prawns tend to be sent largely to the Japanese market, there is a great opportunity for people on the West Coast of Canada and Pacific North West of America to start enjoying prawns and have all the benefits of eating locally.

Ama Ebi – Spot Prawns Sushi Delicacy

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Ama Ebi – The Spot Prawn

One of the fascinating points about the prawn industry in BC is that as much as 90% of the prawns caught in BC are shipped to Japan and eaten in Japanese sushi restaurants. In Japan, spot prawn sushi is called “Ama Ebi (sometimes written Amaebi)“. Ama translated is “sweet” and Ebi is the Japanese word applied to a vareity of prawns and shrimp, so the name translated boils down to “The Sweet Shrimp”. Ama Ebi does not specify a specific species of prawn or shrimp so while BC spot prawns are generally used for Ama Ebi, you can’t be certain that you’ll be getting spot prawns when you order Ama Ebi unless you ask. That said, Ama Ebi is the primary reason that the spot prawn market is strong in Japan. The firm texture, sweet flavor and clean deep water habitat of BC spot prawns makes them a great choice for Ama Ebi. Not only that, but because they have a relatively short lifespan, less than 4 years, there is little opportunity for the build up Moneygram online of heavy metals in the meat as there is in other seafood.

Ama Ebi by <a href=

Ama Ebi by by takaokun

Sustainable Sushi had this to say about the BC spot prawn:

“British Columbia spot prawns, known to be well-managed and caught with environmentally responsible traps, are an excellent option. They are commonly used in ama ebi dishes in the United States and are the best choice for sushi-going shrimp afficionados.”

Ama Ebi – The Sushi

The prawn/shrimp is served nigiri style, which means that the head and shell are removed, the meat is partially cut down the middle, the central vein is removed and the meat is laid across a small oblong portion of sushi rice. The prawn meat should be translucent.

The prawn head is deep fried and served with the prawn meat and sushi rice. As it is nigiri, the prawns should be served in pairs. The deep fried prawn head can be eaten shell and all, though, as you would imagine, it does require a fair bit of care.

BC Prawn Fishing Season

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Commercial Prawn Fishing Season in BC… May – July

Everyone loves fresh BC prawns, there is something special about knowing that the food that you are going to eat was just plucked from the ocean a few hours ago. The quality of fresh spot prawns is incredibly hard to beat. Unfortunately, the season for fishing prawns commercially only lasts May until July of each year. The season’s length is controlled by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) who regulate the fishery to maintain healthy stock levels.

Commercial BC Prawn Fishery Closed Area by Area

The DFO start the season after the majority of female prawns have spawned. Before and during the prawn season sampling technicians monitor and test the fishery to determine the ” Spawner Index”. This is a complex calculation of how many females or potential spawners are coming up from the depths in the traps. The object is to close the fishery, if the index is not high enough, to ensure there are enough spawning females the following winter to maintain the stocks. There is some flexibliity built into the management system so that DFO biologists can close relatively small areas if the stock is weak in that area, without closing the whole fishery. The commercial prawn industry has made sustainability a central feature and various rules have been put in place to that end. Such as, commercial prawn fishers are only allowed to work from 7am to 7pm and can only haul each trap once per day.

As a consequence, the prawn fishing season is variable. However, fresh BC spot prawns tend to be available from May until July each year.

Longer Season is coming

The industry is working on ways to extend the season, so that fresh and live product is locally available for more of the year while always keeping in mind that sustainability is most important. As a result, Spot Prawns have been cited in David Suzuki’s list of sustainable world sea products and are recognized as sustainable by montereybayaquarium.org and seachoice.org as an ecologically sound seafood choice. This is in contrast to competing products which are imported from south east Asia.

What to do When Fresh Prawns Aren’t Available – Try Frozen

But what if it isn’t May, June or July? What then. The only option that we have at the moment is to enjoy frozen spot prawns. Frozen prawns are sharp frozen at sea. The sharp freezing process involves keeping the prawns alive on board the vessel until they are ready to be frozen and then freezing them immediately after they are processed. Sharp frozen prawns offer the best possible alternative when fresh prawns are no longer available. In spite of being frozen, they can be quickly thawed and be ready to serve in a matter of minutes.