Australians enjoying affordable seafood prices in advance of holidays

The Sydney Fish Market.

Australian seafood lovers are enjoying an abundance of supply and reduced prices on their favorite treats moving into the year-end holidays.

Prices are down as much as 50 percent year over year for some of Australia’s most renowned seafoods, including prawns and rock lobster, according to The Guardian.

At Australia’s two largest grocery chains, Coles and Woolworths, raw king prawns are selling for AUD 18 (USD 12, EUR 11) a kilo.

South Melbourne, Australia-based Aptus Seafoods is selling fresh medium-sized prawns for AUD 30 to AUD 35 (USD 20 to USD 23, EUR 18 to EUR 22) per kilo at the moment, and king prawns for AUD 40 to AUD 50 (USD 26 to USD 33, EUR 24 to EUR 31) a kilo.

Last year, king prawns were selling for AUD 60 to AUD 65 (USD 39 to USD 43, EUR 37 to EUR 40) a kilo,” Aptus Seafoods Owner Angelo Zahos said.

Zahos said he was glad to offer lower prices, since last year, “people weren’t able to afford prawns.”

“It’s been quite a hard year for everybody,” he said. “Anyone [who] wants to put seafood on their table … this year, is a good year for people to do that.”

Seafood Industry Australia CEO Veronica Papacosta said Australia’s both shrimp farmers and prawn fishers a had fantastic year of production. She said the wild-catch sector particularly enjoyed a successful year after heavy rainfall and flooding pushed more nutrients out to sea, resulting in a boom in shrimp populations.

“Often at this time of year we hear of skyrocketing seafood prices. And that just won’t happen,” Papacosta said. “It’s been a good season for growing prawns and prawn catching. And so where we find ourselves is with an abundance of supply.”

However, higher costs of production and transportation are mitigating some of the gains Australian consumers would otherwise might see in price discounts, Papacosta said.

“There will be an abundance of high-quality products on the market. And that’s good for customers. Whether it translates to the consumer price at the retail level comes down to the cost of doing business,” she said.

Papacosta said Australians are also finding good value in species outside the so-called “big three” seafood species in Australia – prawns, lobster, and oysters.

“We’ll always love our prawns, oysters, and lobsters, but more people are ordering whole fish such as barramundi for the Christmas Day barbecue, plus mussels, scallops, and smoked salmon. These are all great value for money this year, too,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Papacosta warned Australian rock lobster – a Christmas dinner table centerpiece – will be more expensive this year.

“You won’t see bottom basement prices, but you will still see lobsters for AUD 30 to AUD 40 [USD 20 to USD 26, EUR 18 to EUR 24] each coming from the west coast,” she said.

That price is by the piece, according to Sydney Fish Market Head of Quota and Special Projects Gus Dannoun. He said eastern rock lobsters will sell between AUD 110 and AUD 140 [USD 72 to USD 92, EUR 67 to EUR 85] per kilogram for Christmas.

“You’re still getting a relatively cheap lobster,” he said.

The news is worse for oyster-lovers, who will face higher prices, if they can find any at all. Two of Australia’s largest oyster-growing areas – Wallis Bay and the Sydney estuary – are shut down due to high flooding resulting in oysters that are currently unfit to be eaten, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Photo courtesy of ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock


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