REALLY Bad News For Seafood Fans This Christmas
If you’re a seafood-loving family and shell out (pardon the pun) come Christmas time, you’re certainly not alone.
With our climate, seafood is what many offers opt for at Christmas time, as it’s often too hot for the traditional roast pork or turkey option.
Prawns and oysters are often the order of the day, with families getting up at the crack of dawn on Christmas Eve to ensure they have the freshest seafood on Christmas Day - but this year, thinks could look a little different.
In Sydney, cooked tiger prawns will currently set you back about $45 a kilo — which is up $15 from this time last year, according to retailers.
According to Claudio’s Seafoods wholesale buyer Andy Widjaja, that price will only continue to increase the closer we get to Christmas.
“It’s up nearly 50 per cent on this time last year,” Mr Widjaja told news.com.au.
“Tiger prawn numbers are down because they were wiped out in Queensland from the floods, and imported prawns have been banned because of so many chemicals.
“So I think people will be paying around $52 per kilo by Christmas. There’s just not a lot of prawns, so it’s looking like the worst in 30 years.”
It’s not only NSW that will be affected, with Queensland and Victoria consumers faced with a similar issue.
Queensland Seafood Marketers Association president Marshall Betzel told The Courier Mail that prawn supplies were “pretty tight” around the country, with the “double whammy” of booming Chinese demand for Australian wild-caught prawns and ongoing import restrictions was driving up prices.
“The overall message is don’t leave it to the last minute to go shopping for seafood for Christmas,” Mr Betzel said.
“The prudent buyer should be looking at buying prawns today.
Prawns snap-frozen on the boat come up a treat when thawed out so you could be buying them and putting them in the freezer until Christmas to make sure you don’t miss out.”
Executive director of Seafood Industry Victoria, Johnathon Davey, also suggested that consumers should consider placing their Christmas orders early.
“The industry is experiencing some challenges with supply. There is less around than last year,” Mr Davey told the Herald Sun. The price of oysters may also give you a rude shock this Chrissy.
The price rise affects both Pacific oysters and Australia's native Sydney rock variety.
A major reason for the increase is the limited supply of Pacific oysters after the detection of Pacific oyster mortality syndrome (POMS) in Tasmania in January 2016.
The virus, harmless to humans but able to kill Pacific oysters within days, caused millions of dollars damage to the Tasmanian oyster industry. Because of this, they were unable to restock right away, and it’s causing us pain now.
To put it into perspective, a Pacific Oyster takes 12 to 18 months to grow to harvest-size. It takes a Sydney Rock Oyster three years.