Choosing sustainably sourced prawns

19th December 2020 | Eativity editors

A whopping 40 percent of all Australian prawn consumption occurs over the Christmas period. And while millions of Aussies plan to enjoy prawns this Christmas, only half of us plan to purchase sustainably sourced prawns, putting our ocean’s supplies at risk.

Research released by the international non-profit, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), has revealed that Australians plan to embrace all aspects of the traditional Australian Christmas. And the study found prawns have firmly retained their popularity on our festive menus. Seven in 10 of us consider prawns to be a vital part of Christmas. Meanwhile, nearly half (45%) say prawns are their favourite festive food, only narrowly beaten by ham (49%).

Choosing sustainably sourced prawns
No waste: freeze the heads and shells of your Christmas prawns to use for prawn stock or prawn bisque.

You can take my bubbles, but never my prawns

So important is the prawn to the nation’s celebrations, 40 percent of those surveyed say they’d rather sacrifice their morning glass of fizz than their precious prawns this December 25. Further, 30 percent would sacrifice listening to Christmas music (not a tough call, TBH) or a trip to the beach and a dip in the ocean than give up prawns over Christmas.

But while seafood plays an integral part in Aussie festivities, 49 percent of Australians don’t plan to purchase sustainably sourced prawns. This puts this great Aussie tradition at risk for future generations. One in 10 say they aren’t worried if their shellfish is sustainable, while 2.5 million Aussies (16%) don’t know what sustainable sourced prawns are.

Choosing sustainably sourced prawns: look for the MSC blue fish tick
The blue tick is found on wild-caught fish that is certified as sustainable.

Look for the tick

“With many Australians changing their buying habits during the pandemic, combined with the environment increasingly being a key concern in people’s minds, conscious consumerism is on the rise,” says Anne Gabriel, MSC Oceania Program Director.

“This Christmas, more than eight million people plan to buy sustainably sourced prawns. Not just because it’s a better choice for the environment, but to also support local fisheries. This will safeguard our seafood for future Christmases and generations to come.”

MSC-certified sustainable seafood such as prawns means they’ve been caught at a level where they’ll be around in the future. You just need to look for the MSC blue fish tick.

The blue tick indicates wild-caught seafood that’s traceable back to healthy fish populations. It’s the only wild-capture fisheries certification and eco-labelling program that meets global best practice requirements set by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation and ISEAL, the global membership association for sustainability standards.

Scott Gooding’s layered wild prawn salad with citrus and avocado emulsion

This is a contemporary version of a classic prawn cocktail with a fresh citrus and avocado emulsion and homemade coriander mayonnaise. It’s served as a layered dish in a glass.

Serves 4
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 6 minutes

You’ll need:

500g MSC-certified sustainable prawns (look for the blue fish tick)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
250g mayonnaise (see below)
4 avocados
60ml lime juice
2 corn cobs
5 large tomatoes, pulp removed, diced
Half an iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
¼ cup fresh coriander leaves
Micro herbs (optional)
Sea salt
Black pepper
2 limes, quartered

For the mayonnaise*

200ml olive oil
200ml avocado oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
4 free-range egg yolks
45ml lime juice
¼ cup fresh coriander leaves
Sea salt
Black pepper


1. Heat salted water in a small saucepan. Cut corn cobs in half and add to water. Reduce heat to a simmer, cook for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the water, drain and set aside.

2. Deseed the tomatoes and chop, then set aside.

3. Thinly shred the iceberg lettuce and set aside.

4. Remove the corn kernels from the cobs and set aside.

5. Using a blender, combine avocado, lime juice and seasoning in a jug. Blitz until smooth. Set aside in the fridge, in a bowl covered with cling wrap touching the top of the avocado.

6. Combine all ingredients for the mayonnaise apart from oils in a jug or blender. Blitz for 10 seconds before slowly adding oils while continuing to blitz. Once all oil has been added or when it becomes a consistency you like, remove from jug or blender and set aside.

7. Remove shells of prawns. Add oil and butter to a large saucepan on medium/high heat. Add prawns and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

8. Remove from the pan and allow to cool down. Once cooled, chop the prawns and combine them with the mayonnaise.

9. Assemble the stacks in eight parfait glasses with the avocado emulsion on the bottom, followed by the sweetcorn, then the diced tomatoes and lettuce. Top with the prawns in mayonnaise and micro herbs, if using.

* You can use store-bought mayonnaise if you’d prefer.

For more prawn recipes, top tips and information on where to purchase MSC-certified sustainable prawns with the blue fish tick this Christmas, visit