Posts Tagged ‘regulations’

2009 Prawn Fishing Season Opens!

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Commercial fishing for BC Spot Prawns is open! As of May 7th 12:00 the commercial prawn fishing season for 2009 is opening. Both the North Coast and South Coast are open for commercial fishing until further notice. This is a great opportunity to head down to your local wharf and pick up some fresh prawns to make your BBQ’s delicious.

As always the official announcements of the beginning of the season can be found on the DFO website. But for those who are looking for the announcements there are PDF copies of the announcements here for the South Coast and the North Coast.

Sustainable Highlights from the Announcements

Single Hauling

In all areas, after opening day, all setting and hauling of prawn and shrimp traps will be permitted only between 0700 h (7:00 am) and 1900 h (7:00 pm) and hauling of traps will be permitted only once per day.

While the prawn traps are fairly good at making sure that only prawns are caught there is always a number of undersized prawns that will find their way into the prawn traps. One of the reasons to single haul is to give these prawns an opportunity to find their way out of the traps. If a trap is set in a place with a significant amount of prawns the prawn bait is generally all eaten before the trap is pulled back up, with no food in the trap the prawns make efforts to escape. Single hauling means that undersized prawns have the time that they need to be able to escape.

Spot Prawn Carapace Size Limits

The minimum size limit for prawns is 33 mm measured as carapace length. The minimum size for tailed prawns is 22 mm telson length.

The prawn carapace is measured from the rear of the prawn eye socket, to the end of the top rear end of the head portion of the shell. The carapace size limit makes it easy for fishers to quickly judge if a prawn is a legal size and only keep those prawns that meet the guidelines. Prawns are hermaphrodites so making sure that small prawns are not harvested before they have become females and spawned helps the spot prawn stocks remain strong from year to year.

Prawns Ready to Be Sorted

BC Spot Prawns Ready to Be Sorted

Prawn Sorting and Bycatch

Traps must be sorted and undersized prawns released as each trap comes on board.

One of the important jobs on any commercial prawn fishing vessel is to sort the prawns as they come on board. Spot prawns are sorted immediately when they come on board the vessel. This allows any bycatch that comes up with the prawns to be quickly returned to the water. And it also means that prawns that are too small to be harvested are returned to the ocean with a minimum possible amount of stress.

Berried Prawns

All berried prawns must be released from opening day May 07 and until June 0/09.

Berried Prawns are prawns that still have eggs. Prawns hold their eggs under their body and as the eggs are ready they fall off as the eggs mature. While each prawns is able to produce many offspring, returning berried prawns to the sea gives the prawn stocks in that area the best possible opportunity to maintain their population. That said, catching spot prawns after they have spawned is ideal because the prawns die once they have spawned.