Back of boat sales for WA lobsters doubles after China rejects seafood imports

Joe SpagnoloThe West Australian
Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley with skipper of Neptune 3, Fedele J Camarda and some fresh lobster.
Camera IconFisheries Minister Peter Tinley with skipper of Neptune 3, Fedele J Camarda and some fresh lobster. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The Sunday Times

China’s loss will be WA’s gain this Christmas, with a flood of fresh, cheap lobsters set to hit the local market.

Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley has announced that commercial fishers will be able to increase the number of lobsters sold from the back of their boats to 200 per landing during December and January.

The move follows trade tensions between China and Australia, which has seen the WA seafood delicacy rejected by the Chinese.

Mr Tinley said allowing more lobsters to be sold from the back of boats, meant fishermen could sell more of the seafood to local markets.

For WA families, this should also result in fresher, and cheaper lobsters for Christmas tables.

“After consulting with industry, the temporary increase to allow increased back of boat sales over the peak holiday and summer period will provide further support industry recovery and will not impact the future sustainability of the fishery,” Mr Tinley said.

“People buying straight from the fishermen. You can’t get fresher than that.

“This is a great time of the year to celebrate our state’s world class seafood.

“There is so much variety on offer including pink snapper, Mandurah’s blue swimmer crabs, Abrolhos Island scallops, Cone Bay Barramundi, red emperor Octopus, King George whiting, wild caught prawns from Shark Bay and Exmouth and Albany’s famous oysters,”

WA’s lobster industry has been hit by tensions with China.

Of the 6600 tonnes of lobster caught by commercial fishermen last year, 95 per cent went to China.

The trade crisis has stopped this lucrative export market and because of this, rock lobster fishers are now focussing on the market closer to home.

“This measure assists them (fishermen) to build social licence and tell people what it’s like to be part of a fishing family and to diversify their own market,” Mr Tinley said.

“I’d expect the consumer will be the big winner.

“It is an authentic experience – going to a fishing boat harbour and buying a cray.

“And it will be a great price.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails