Best prawns in 40 years

John McCutcheon

THE NORTH Coast is on the verge of its best school prawn season for at least 40 years, thanks to a combination of ideal weather patterns.

Large, firm 'schoolies' were found between Ballina and the Clarence last week, and the Evans Head Co-op is now offering the product for $8/kg or $15 for two kilos.

According to co-op manager Geoff O'Rourke, who has worked at the facility for 40 years, the recent haul is equal to or better than anything he has seen in his time employed at Evans Head.

The coastal village features in the history of Australian prawning as a pioneer 'schoolies' port, especially during the wet years of the 1950s

Where the prawns will appear next is anyone's guess - off Ballina, near Byron or closer to the Clarence.

But trawlermen from Southport to Coffs Harbour are counting on a few more big hauls before Christmas.

“Historically the bigger prawns are found further north,” Mr O'Rourke said. “But this lot is equal to, if not better than, we've ever had.”

The reason for the bumper harvest is a combination of wet months earlier in the year and warm conditions lately.

A bit of a northerly to stir the mix doesn't hurt.

But critical to the result was the fact that the Richmond and Clarence and Tweed all flooded numerous times earlier in the year without resulting in fish kills, Evans Head Co-op president Kevin Aleckson said.

The floods, occurring during the cooler months, did not release a mass of de-oxygenated water into the rivers which kill marine life.

WILL YOU BE GRABBING SOME BARGAIN PRAWNS? Phone 6624 3266 or SMS 0428 264 948

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