Chill with plenty of Queensland seafood again this Christmas
Published Thursday, 22 December, 2022 at 08:00 AM
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
The Honourable Mark Furner
The Queensland Government is urging Queenslanders to back the seafood industry this festive season and enjoy the plentiful supplies of prawns, scallops, crab, and fish on offer.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said putting seafood on your table is good for you and also supports all our coastal fishing communities, aquaculture farmers, retailers, fish and chip shops and restauranteurs.
“Once again Queenslanders are spoiled for choice when it comes to seafood,” he said.
“For freshness, price, and variety Queensland is Australia’s hub for great seafood.
“Our iconic Queensland prawns are in great demand in NSW and Victoria. We now have the fastest growing aquaculture sector in the nation.”
Queensland Seafood Marketers Association President Ian Hamilton encouraged people to make the most of all the seafood on offer this Christmas.
“While production costs have risen Queensland prawn and fish prices remain competitive and good value,” Mr Hamilton said.
“Consumers can expect to buy wild caught Queensland northern kings from $27 a kilo and a Queensland’s favourite large wild caught tigers from $35 a kilo.
“There are plenty of top quality, well-priced farmed tiger and banana prawns too.
“Tropical lobsters from the Torres Strait, Queensland east coast sand crabs and prized Moreton Bay bugs are plentiful. Large Moreton Bay bugs retailing around $65 a kilo.
“People are being spoilt for choice with Queensland tiger prawns, squid, scallops as well as prime table fish - red emperors, snappers, Sunshine Coast tuna and our own Queensland barramundi to choose from.”
Mr Furner said aquaculture is now responsible for 56% of the nation’s total fisheries production and continues to climb. (source ABARE).
“There is plenty of room in the Queensland market for both wild-caught and quality farmed seafood, and the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to growing the industry here is paying dividends and creating more regional jobs,” he said.
Last year aquaculture production in Queensland, chiefly from barramundi and prawns, set a new record.
Nearly 1200 tonnes were harvested - worth $193 million and employing 786 full-time staff.
The Australian Prawn Farmers Association Chief Executive Kim Hooper said farmed prawn operations are enjoying rapid expansion and a bumper season.
“In fact, eleven thousand tonnes of prawns will be harvested over the next few months. That is a two thousand tonne increase on last year alone.
“And plenty will be available in a variety of sizes and prices to meet your budget right through till Easter next April,” Ms Hooper said.
Mr Furner said aquaculture is now big business in Queensland.
“The overall value of the sector has increased at an annual rate of 6.6% per annum since 1999-2000, with the long-term production average showing annual growth of 7.1%,” he said.
“The Government’s commitment and support to growing the industry is paying dividends and creating more regional jobs,” Mr Furner said.
“Queensland now boasts the world’s first commercial hatchery for tropical rock lobsters at Toomulla Beach, near Townsville where the focus is on growing the species to commercial quantities.
“This trailblazing venture aims to produce 1,000 tonnes of lobsters annually over the next 10 years.
“The importance of aquaculture to Queensland is impressive with the sector contributing 55.3% of total fisheries production in 2021.
“Its overall value has increased at an annual rate of 6.6% per annum since 1999-2000, with the long-term production average showing annual growth of 7.1%.
“As the sector grows it will employ hundreds more Queenslanders in our regions and help to meet Australia’s insatiable demand for Queensland seafood.
“So, when you’re at your local fish supplier, be sure to ask for Queensland seafood to back in our hard-working commercial fishers and aquaculture farmers,” Mr Furner said.
One of Brisbane’s largest wholesale and busiest retail outlets, the Fish Factory at Morningside is really geared up as Christmas looms.
Owner Andrew Solomon expects his popular retail shop alone will have sold up to 15 tonnes of prawns alone before this Sunday.
“Bugs, lobsters, prawns and crabs are the most sought after for the festive season,” Mr Solomon said.
“We are on track to sell up to 500 kg of swimmer crabs and 350 kg of mud crabs over the counter this week alone. There are some very good value seafood items you can add to the Christmas table this year. One is Calamari at round $20 kg.
“And people could even try baking a whole fish as a table centre piece for approximately $50 which would be enough to feed from 4–6 people.”
Media contact: Ron Goodman 0427 781 920