Prawns of the Pacific Northwest
This species is the largest of the local shrimps with large females reaching more than 24 cm in total length.
Its body color is usually reddish brown or tan, with white horizontal bars on the carapace, and distinctive white spots on the first and fifth abdominal segments. At times, juveniles have been observed on muddy bottoms, but adults normally live in rocky crevices and under boulders.
The prawn ranges throughout the northern Pacific from Alaska to San Diego, California, and from the Sea of Japan to Korea Strait.
Commercial trap fishing is carried on all along the British Columbia coast. Although the fact is not obvious from statistical records, the prawn now ranks first in landed value in the shrimp fishery. The most popular sport trapping grounds are located in the Strait of Georgia and in southern mainland inlets.
The prawn is a male during its first, second and sometimes the third years, then changes sex in the third or fourth year. Eggs are found on females from October to March.
Some of my best memories are of my dad, my brothers and I shucking cooked Prawns we had caught earlier, to put in the freezer, even though l would eat as many as l could, we would still get a good number of them frozen.
Prawns are commercially harvested in traps deployed on long lines commonly from 50 meters to 150 meters deep. Prawn traps vary in size, can be either oblong or cylindrical in shape and feature about 2 or 3 funnel-shaped openings each. These baited traps are laid out along a bottom line with the position of the traps marked with surface buoys. In Alaska and British Columbia prawns are harvested with traps rather than the highly destructive practice of bottom trawls used for most other shrimp species.