SERVE OF SEAFOOD: Taryn Wittingham from Gladstone Fish Market is preparing for this year's Christmas rush on prawns and other seafood.
SERVE OF SEAFOOD: Taryn Wittingham from Gladstone Fish Market is preparing for this year's Christmas rush on prawns and other seafood. Matt Taylor GLA191218PRAWN

Peeling prawns these holidays? Here's what you should know

SALES of prawns have skyrocketed once again this Christmas season.

Gladstone Fish Market Retail owner Simon Whittingham said offerings were a "mixed bag".

"We've got beautiful North Queensland tiger prawns ... we have our North Queensland cooked mixed prawn, they're caught out of Cairns and they're a beautiful little prawn, very sweet," Mr Whittingham said.

"Then we have our all-time favourite which we move a lot of, that's the banana prawn, cooked and green."

Despite the general public perception prawn prices went up around Christmas, Mr Whittingham said he lowered his to "try and encourage sales".

"The large cooked tiger prawn used to be $44.99 and I've now got it at $41.99 ... banana prawn has been $33.50 all year and won't change," he said.

However, he noticed prices were increasing on a year-to-year basis.

"There needs to be a natural escalation in product value so that it increases somewhat equally as the cost of operations increase," Mr Whittingham said.

He said operational restrictions meant this year's supply was lacking one variety.

"The red spot kings are something that we always had as part of our offering here but it's been a very difficult species to get hold of recently ... they are becoming very, very difficult to source," he said.

"The commercial fishing fleet is continually being restricted access to the grounds where they can harvest these prawns and it's also a case of economics - if they're not catching enough to justify working in those grounds then they've got to make a decision of priority and go where they can make more money."

He said December 23 and 24 were consistently the year's busiest days for his 14-year-old business.

"(December) 22nd, 23rd and 24th we'd sell probably about two tonnes of prawn," Mr Whittingham said.

He encouraged people to buy more frozen prawns, a "fantastic product" if stored and prepared properly.