Seafood industry asks Aussies for help
“We need your support”: Australia’s seafood industry has called for consumers to support their local lobster industry as it reels from the impacts of the Australia-China trade riff, and to support the entire industry by committing to switch one meal a week for Aussie seafood.
“It’s been a hard year for our seafood industry; now our lobster producers have been dealt another blow,” says Seafood Industry Australia CEO Veronica Papacosta. “We’re calling on Aussies to switch one meal to Australian seafood in a bid to support our industry.”
If one percent of the population committed to changing just one meal a week to locally-sourced Australian seafood like prawns, salmon or barramundi, that would add up to more than 250,000 meals of Australian seafood on the table.
“For the festive season, we’re asking consumers to change just one protein meal to Australian seafood like our stunning rock lobster, a few dozen fresh oysters, a big, beautiful bowl of prawns, or replace a roast with a whole, baked Australian fish,” Papacosta says. “This could mean the difference between a fisher making or missing a mortgage payment, and a boat heading out of harbour or spending another week docked.”
Communities in lobster-producing areas such as Apollo Bay in Victoria and Geraldton in Western Australia might be seeing greater access to premium Australian rock lobsters than they have in the past, but this doesn’t necessarily mean there will be cheap lobsters at every fish counter across the country, Papacosta warns.
“The bulk of lobsters that were heading to China are live, but the preference for the Aussie market is very much for fresh, cooked lobsters,” she says. “We’re working hard to cook and chill as much lobster as we can, but it’s just not infrastructure we currently have.
“We have a processing issue, and we’re trying to pivot and fix it as fast as we can, so we can get our lobsters onto Australian family tables in time for Christmas.”
Major supermarket chains account for 60 percent of all at-home seafood consumption sales. Seafood Trade Advisory Group Chair Nathan Maxwell-McGinn says that, as drivers of volume, the group would love to hear from supermarkets about how they could help to get more Australian lobsters onto tables.
“To help people find Australian lobsters near them, we’ve also created a lobster function on our Great Australian Seafood Fish Finder,” he says. “This will allows consumers to search by postcode for retailers stocking Australian lobsters near them.”
The industry also needs support from the foodservice sector, including restaurants, hotels, pubs and clubs. The foodservice sector can access live Aussie lobsters through their wholesale distributers and can handle the cooking more easily than home consumers.
For seafood cooking inspiration that any home cook can master, head to greataustralianseafood.com.au