Fishy feast 

STILL weighing up whether to get crayfish, prawns or oysters for Christmas lunch?

Have no fear, the Chook is here with a rundown from peak-body Seafood Industry Australia on all the ocean delights you can enjoy with your festive meal:

“Prawns are traditionally the biggest seller of the season, however we are seeing rock lobsters and whole fin-fish like Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon and Barramundi rising in popularity as people opt for seafood over the traditional beef or lamb roast,” says SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta.

“Australian prawns are abundant this year, between our wild-catch and aquaculture operations. We’ve had a fantastic wild-caught King Prawn and Banana Prawn season, they are both looking really good, and our farmed Tiger Prawns are always fantastic. 

“If you’re in a coastal community, have a chat with your seafood retailer about your local School Prawns which are often really sweet and can be eaten whole. They are really tasty, deep-fried shell and all, served with a tartare or seafood sauce. 

“There is still going to be a really nice abundance of Western Rock Lobsters in the domestic market, consumers can expect to find these in stores for between $30-35 each. People will also find some beautiful Eastern and Southern Rock Lobsters available too. These make a great hero centrepiece as an alternative to a whole ham, or roast. Very impressive. 

“Moreton Bay and Balmain Bugs are of lovely quality with really sweet, delicate meat. We expect these to be the same price as last year. Alongside lobster and prawns, bugs can take pride of place on your seafood platter. 

“It’s been a tough season for Sydney Rock Oyster growers with the loss of the Port Stephens oyster farms and the ongoing rain events along our Eastern Coast. This will put pressure on the supply available, but the Sydney Rock Oysters in-market are of fantastic quality. 

Pacific Oysters are looking good; however, they can come into spawn in late December-January so this could impact supply. 

“There is some really high-quality, fresh Australian Tuna coming into the market and consumers should be on the lookout for Southern Bluefin Tuna, which has been excellent lately. Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon both smoked and fresh should maintain a steady year-round pricing and are always a welcome addition to Christmas and New Year celebrations. 

“If you’re looking for a whole fish to roast or BBQ Australian Snappers, Barramundi, Salmon and Ocean Trout are great and readily available.

“These are all stunning table fish and will make for a show stopping centrepiece. Both whole fish and fillets will be available and there shouldn’t be much of a change in price year-round. 

“Our Australian Blue Swimmer and Mud Crabs are always excellent at this time of year, and sit at the higher end of prices. 

“Across the entire food supply network there has been impacts to the supply chain and labour shortages, however consumers don’t need to worry, between our aquaculture and wild-caught products there will be a wide variety of Australian seafood available.

“People should be on the lookout for some of our more underutilised species like Mussels, Calamari or Octopus this Christmas. You might be able to nab yourself a seafood bargain, and maybe even find a new favourite.

“If you’re not sure how to cook something, take the time to ask your fishmonger for advice.

“We know Australians love to eat Australian seafood, and if you want to be certain you’re eating sustainable, healthy, world-class seafood this Christmas, always ask for our great Australian seafood.” 

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