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Monday, April 12, 2021

Canberra’s appetite for seafood surges before Christmas

As per usual this time of year, demand for seafood across the country is surging in the leadup to Christmas, and trade tensions with China means there is an influx of lower-priced Australian rock lobsters to the domestic market.

John Fragopoulos from FishCo Fish Market says this is an advantage for retailers this year after COVID-19.

He says public demand in Canberra has been strong for lobsters, as well as for prawns and oysters, which are available in abundance in the Fyshwick store. He recommends customers always try before they buy to ensure they are getting quality product for their Christmas tables.

 “You have to see your lobsters and your oysters and your prawns as an investment… try before you buy is the way to go.”

He says while the big supermarkets are selling lobsters for half price this year, these can be quite a bit smaller than what’s available elsewhere – so it can be beneficial to check the price per kilo.

The demand for lobsters in particular has seen both Coles and Woolworths – who are selling lobsters for $20 each – implement purchase limits for customers, and the industry’s peak body is thrilled to see the high demand for local produce.

“The lower than usual price of Australian rock lobsters is easing some of the pressure on other sectors of the industry,” says Seafood Industry Australia CEO, Veronica Papacosta.

“Prices will remain stable from now until Christmas.

“There is some increased pressure on wild-caught prawns as there’s more people eating at home this year, but there’s plenty of our sustainably farmed Australian prawns on offer.”

Ms Papacosta says support for domestic produce is high in the wake of COVID-19, with consumer behaviour shifting to support locally grown and made products.

“After the hard year the industry has had it’s great to see consumers re-evaluating their purchasing decisions and prioritising Australian seafood in the shopping basket.”

The RSPCA recommends live crustaceans not be made available for the general public to purchase, and instead suggests they be “humanely killed by trained and competent personnel before purchase”. 

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