Half-price lobsters to light up Christmas tables as China’s market remains closed

Consumers have another chance to serve lobster at half price this Christmas, with the Chinese market remaining closed to exports.

China first introduced the import ban on Australian lobster in November 2020, and it has pushed the kilo price to its lowest point in six years as the industry searched for alternative export markets.

Matthew Harry, a fisherman at San Remo near Phillip Island, said despite two challenging years, the industry was optimistic about the start of the season, which started today.

Fishing boat docked with fishing nets and lobster pots.
Victoria’s San Remo region is a premier fishing spot for Australian red lobster. (Delivered by: Matthew Harry )

Victorians would be able to buy a red lobster for about $ 70 per kilo this year, compared to its usual $ 140 per kilo.

“Hopefully, the domestic market can enjoy a more affordable lobster and not wait until Christmas until you order them, because as demand increases, the price increases.”

Victoria’s lobster industry harvests about 322 tons a year, and about 97 percent of the country’s lobsters had previously been shipped alive to China.

Close up of fresh Australian lobster.
Prices for lobster have halved to $ 70 / kg since the Chinese ban was introduced 12 months ago.(ABC: Bec Whetham)

And while the future of Australia’s trade with China remained bleak, Harry felt it was a good opportunity to diversify the industry’s international markets.

Consumer survey on Victorian seafood

Seafood Industry Victoria launched a study to learn more about how people consume seafood and what can prevent them from eating it more often.

Independent President Joanne Butterworth-Gray said it looked like Australians had limited knowledge of Victorian seafood and that the industry hoped this season would encourage more people to buy locally caught fish and crustaceans.

“So when we know what consumers are thinking, we can target our education and promotion in a way that addresses what the public needs or wants,” Ms Butterworth-Gray said.

“[The survey] is really finding out how much Victorians know about the type of seafood and species … that are available and comparing it to imported seafood. ”

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