Ladysmith-based fisherman Corey Thompson has found himself a brisk business in selling spot prawns on Ladysmith’s Fisherman’s Wharf.
Thompson’s family has lived in the area and fished for generations. His great-great-grandfather was one of the first seine fishermen on Reid Island, which is nearby Penelakut. Seine fishing is a method of net fishing. That family tradition has held strong to this day.
“I’ve been fishing my entire life. I used to come out with my dad and my grandfather when I was young — my grandfather loved prawn fishing,” Thompson said. “But I’ve been fishing prawns here for 10 years now running boats.”
In previous seasons, Thompson fished prawns for private companies, but he’s independent for the first time this year. He saved up enough money to lease a license from Cowichan Tribes, of which he is a member. He’s been selling his spot prawns for $12 a pound — a price he says that he’s more than happy with.
“Everybody’s been happy to come and buy it at that price. I think I’ll be able to cover my expenses and make a little bit of money this year,” Thompson said.
Customers have come from all over Vancouver Island to buy up pounds of Thompson’s prawns. The business has proven to be so popular that one of Thompson’s biggest challenges is catching enough prawns to meet demand, something he couldn’t have imagined before becoming independent.
“I kind of abandoned most of my buyers from the past… so when I did this I was worried that I wouldn’t be selling out,” he said.
Part of that success has been a social media advertising campaign. The Thompsons founded a Facebook group called Ladysmith Spot Prawns and the group grew to over 400 members in just a few short days.
Being independent has also allowed Thompson to keep operations within the family. He’s helped daily by his uncle Brad, his father Jesse, his brother Colin, his cousin Krystal and her mother Robin.
“I couldn’t do this without them. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to work with them,” Thompson said.
Spot prawn season lasts an average of 40 days. The Thompson family will be out fishing every day and selling their catch at Fisherman’s Wharf in Ladysmith around noon daily.