Much Beloved Festival Celebrating Spot Prawns Takes Place In Victoria This Weekend

Annual festival happens during the 4-6 weeks where prawns are harvested on the BC Coast.

Prawns on the barbie just scratches the surface of what you will see at the Spot Prawn Festival. Enjoy this delicious West Coast treat while taking in live music or a rugby match.
Prawns on the barbie just scratches the surface of what you will see at the Spot Prawn Festival. Get your prawn on and enjoy this delicious West Coast treat. But don't forget to also take in live music or a rugby match. Photo Credit: Spot Prawn Festival on Facebook.

Get ready to put some “shrimp on the barbie.” The much-beloved Spot Prawn Festival is taking place this weekend in Victoria. 

For prawn lovers, late Spring is a very special season in which prawns are harvested over a 4-6 week period. The festival is a yearly bash to celebrate all things prawn, where you can meet the harvesters and indulge in free prawn samples (preferably with a little lemon and salt). Last year’s festival drew in a record 10,000 visitors.

What’s better than shrimp cocktail? Prawn cocktail of course! Photo Credit: Spot Prawn Festival on Facebook.

Spot prawns are the biggest of the seven species harvested off the BC Coast. According to the Spot Prawn Festival, “approximately 2,450 metric tonnes are harvested annually, with about 65% of the harvest coming from the waters between Vancouver Island and the mainland.”

Fisheries and Oceans Canada declared the season open on May 15th, keeping close eyes on the catches to ensure the prawn can repopulate their numbers. Prawners lay traps on the ocean floor at about 40-100 metres to minimize the impact on the environment and other species.

Why peel them yourself when someone can peel them for you? The innuendo is spot on at the Spot Prawn Festival. Photo Credit: Spot Prawn Festival on Facebook.

 “There aren’t many local fishing or fisheries left in B.C., and prawning is one of the ones you can still do from downtown Vancouver or Gibsons, and you don’t have to travel 300 miles away to access your fishing grounds,” prawner Mark Urwin told the West Coast Now earlier this year.

The festival is free to attend and takes place at Macdonald Park in James Bay on Saturday, May 27th and Sunday, May 28th. This year’s event will feature live music from bands like Pony Gold, Trophy Dad, and The Unfaithful Servants, as well as a rugby tournament.

Two peelers prepare bucketloads of spot prawn cocktails. We are happy the Spot Prawn Festival is back. It felt like it was gone for a really prawn time. Photo Credit: Spot Prawn Festival on Facebook.

If you happen to be on the mainland, you can also catch Vancouver’s Spot Prawn Festival at Fisherman’s Wharf near Granville Island on Sunday, May 28th. The Chefs’ Table Society of British Columbia will be serving up Spot Prawn Bisque for $10 and a Spot Prawn Brunch tasting menu of 6 delicious spot prawn dishes for $79. You can get your tickets for the Vancouver festival here.

To read more about BC’s unique prawn harvesting industry, check out our full interview with fifth-generation prawner and business owner Mark Urwin.

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