Extreme weather conditions have driven prawn prices to an all-time high, with some species costing 40% more.
According to purchasing firm Beacon, the average price of prawns is up 15% with many importers in Europe left with little or no stock. Black tiger prawns are currently costing 40% more.
Current average prices for king prawns is £12.75 per kilo, while North Atlantic prawns are £11.72 per kilo.
Beacon said that price rises would likely be felt by operators in December in time to affect Christmas menus.
M&J Seafood and Direct Seafoods have reported price increases at source due in part to a drop in Vietnamese production caused by a drought in the Mekong delta earlier this year. Low harvests in China have also increased local demand, driving up the price for European importers.
Meanwhile, coldwater prawns have seen a quota cut of 42% in Canada, the equivalent to a reduction of more than 20,000 tonnes.
Beacon's senior food buyer, Emma Warrington, said suppliers were doing all they could to mitigate price increases, but that prices would inevitably rise for operators soon.
She added: "With the pressure likely to continue into next year, it's only a matter of time before these price increases are passed on, meaning the classic Christmas prawn cocktail could be more expensive this year.
"The stock position for prawns in the EU market is currently incredibly low. Temperatures of up to 40 degrees in Bangladesh and Vietnam, two of the main producers of black tiger prawns, have led to high mortality rates. This combination of low supply and increased demand has meant that prawn prices have rocketed to an all-time high."
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