PRIZED red Denia prawns were selling at €101 a kilo by the time the New Year arrived.
A week earlier when there were fewer around they fetched up to €150 in the harbourside auctions as restaurants and families snapped them up for Christmas meals.
Prices shot up owing to a combination of bad weather that kept Javea and Denia boats in port for several days and fewer prawns in their usual fishing grounds between Cabo de San Antonio and Ibiza.
Catches have recovered as stocks show signs of replenishing, promising a better holiday campaign than the fishing guild feared. Over the last two weeks, boats have been bringing in between 20 and 30 kilos a day, said Amadeu Ros, skipper of the Cap Prim Segon.
Trawlers are catching increasing numbers of mud shrimps, a bio-indicator that the fishing grounds are teeming with life, Ros said.
Overall this year’s prices were better than 2015’s maximum of €102 a kilo but they are still a long way short of the €206 a kilo that the red prawns fetched in 2006.
Red prawns from Denia are considered to be the best in Spain due to unusually high levels of iodine and salt in the flesh, which impart a unique flavour.
They are harvested from a trench in the seabed which is around 600 metres deep, where the virtual absence of predators allows the prized crustaceans to attain a large size.