Best Fish Company, LLC
Doing Business As
2130 Harbor Ave S.W.
Seattle, WA 98126
Spot Prawns & Coon Strip Shrimp Species Description: The Spot Prawn, "Pandalus platyceros", is the largest of the Pandalid shrimp. Its range extends from Baja, California to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska and around to the Sea of Japan and the Korea Strait. The Spot Prawn is a hermaphrodite: they start life as a male, and by their third or fourth year of growth, they change sex. They tend to inhabit rocky, hard bottom areas, including the edges of marine canyons, rocky pinnacles and coral reefs, but their known distribution is patchy, and populations are discrete, so catching them can be tricky. A quality Spot Prawn should have a nice hard shell with little flexibility; this can be checked by pinching the body area. Live, healthy Spot Prawns are a green to orange color with a nice, translucent sheen. The head is striped, with spots on the tail. As they get weaker, their color becomes more orange-red. Likewise, absolutely fresh spot prawn tails should have a firm texture and opaque sheen, rather than being soft and chalky in color. Live Spot Prawns tend to have a 48-52% recovery rate for tails, and 90% for whole-cooked.
Ecology: Spot Prawn fisheries are well established in Alaska, California, and British Columbia. In Oregon and Washington, although they have been fished since the 1940s to a small degree, they are considered an emerging fishery, with fishery management plans expected by 2004. Crab Fresh purchases only pot-caught Spot Prawns. Trawl fisheries still exist in California, but are being phased out. While most shrimp fisheries and aquaculture operations worldwide are generally considered unsustainable by environmental critics, the pot fishery for Spot Prawns in the Pacific Northwest may have the potential to be the exception to the rule (Mormorunni, 2001). Currently, one problem with the fishery, in contrast to pot fisheries for crabs, is that fecund females are harvested along with males, and may even be targeted because of their larger size. However, in great contrast to other shrimp fisheries whose bycatch (mortality of other fish/animals in the nets) is among the highest in the world, the pot fishery for Spot Prawns has almost no bycatch problem.
Pricing & Availability: As seasons vary according to location, Spot Prawns can be available live, fresh, or frozen almost year round. Volume production occurs on the West Coast during Dec-Feb, in British Columbia May-Sept, and in Southeast Alaska June-Aug. Frozen product is usually put up in the beginning of these windows, when prices are lowest. Fishery openers in Washington's inside waters tend to be short, while fewer permits make for a longer steadier season for coastal shrimp. Alaska's coastal production is quite large, but poorly located for shipping. Live spot prawns can be air-shipped, but are very susceptible to time, temperature and oxygen abuse. Prices range from $5-$9/lb to the producer for the larger, hardier ocean shrimp, and $2.50-$5/lb for inside shrimp. Price can change significantly on a daily basis, and is greatly affected by the Asian economy.
Ordering & Shipping: Live Spot Prawns are usually delivered in tanks with air hoses for local deliveries, packed with paper shreds, oxygen and gel ice for air-shipping, 15lbs to a box. Fresh or frozen tails and whole cooked shrimp are available in 25# or 50# box size.