Just Kai is in the processing of researching our next guide, on shellfish, crustaceans and squid. That means I’ve spent the past couple of weeks learning about the prawn industry. It’s been a fascinating process and I wanted to share some of what I’ve been learning. The prawn industry is remarkably complex!
Firstly, I’ve come to the conclusion that Argentinian red prawns/shrimps and Australian wild-caught prawns are both always OK from a human welfare point of view, so long as they haven’t been processed beyond simple freezing. There are no reports of slavery or child labour on fishing boats in those regions, and the freezing is done right on the boat. That means I already have two recommendations for prawns :-)
From PakNSave and New World, you will likely be able to buy whole raw Argentinian red prawns from the fish counter. In Auckland they’re going for around $18-$20/kg. Some stores seem to be calling them ‘red prawns’ but they’re all Argentinian as far as I can tell.
Then from Countdown you should be able to get Ocean Pearl Australian wild-caught banana prawns, again raw and whole. They come in an 800g bag for $27. Ocean Pearl also market whole, raw, Australian wild-caught tiger prawns, king prawns, endeavour prawns: I haven’t seen those for sale online anywhere, but if you happen to see them at your local fish shop, those will be fine, too.
Unfortunately, all other shrimps and prawns have multiple risk points:
I’ve emailed eight prawn companies (representing 11 brands), two online seafood retailers and the two large supermarket chains and asked them about their prawn supply chain in terms of feed, farming and processing. Hopefully we’ll find more slave-free brands as the answers come back, but for now there is at least one option in each of the main supermarkets!