Crisis sees high-end seafood prices almost halve

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A LOCAL seafood store owner has reported a dramatic decrease in the price of high-end seafood because it’s not being exported overseas.

Ocean Fresh Seafoods co-owner Chris Russell… “I’ve never seen so many lobsters sold in our shop before.”

Based at Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets, the Ocean Fresh Seafoods co-owner, Chris Russell, says last week lobsters were sold at $70 each, whereas at Christmas they were sold for $120 each.

“There’s a greater volume of seafood because it’s not being exported,” Chris says.

“The volumes exceeded the demand, pushing prices down. Fishermen still have to operate through a quota system and they still have to go to work and meet their quota, otherwise they will lose their quota for next year.”

And while the store’s supply to restaurants has dropped by 80 per cent, Chris says, because of these cheaper seafood prices, the retail sector has taken up some of that drop. 

“I’ve never seen so many lobsters sold in our shop before,” he says.

“People have a lot of disposable money here in Canberra and it shows you what money they spend when they go out to restaurants.”

Normally, Chris wouldn’t see high-end products such as lobsters and king prawns sold through retail, but since people can’t go to restaurants, more Canberrans are buying it in store to cook at home. 

“Because people can’t go out to restaurants, they’re buying these items in store and taking them home to cook themselves,” he says.

And with Easter coming up this weekend, which is notoriously a time where seafood is consumed more, especially on Good Friday, Chris is optimistic that they’ll match their sales from last year. 

“But it’s a day-to-day process,” he says. 

And while Ocean Fresh Seafoods isn’t immune to the economic hit from the virus, Chris says he’s enjoying seeing people taking on the challenge and cooking high-quality food at home.

“To stay afloat we’ve had to make some changes like cut some staff’s hours,” he says. 

“But it’s good to see people haven’t gone into total doom and gloom and are still enjoying stuff like having a crack at cooking.”

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Danielle Nohra
Danielle Nohra is the assistant editor of "CityNews".

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