‘I think they will go to $55 by Christmas’
IF you were hoping to serve a few kilos of king prawns this Christmas, you may want to rethink your lunch menu.
According to some Sydney retailers, seafood lovers may need to dig a little deeper for their Christmas spread this year, with some prawn varieties set to cost consumers upwards of $50 per kilo.
Tony from Claudio's Seafood said wild caught king prawns will be expensive, but opting for other varieties will be more value for money.
"Today the king prawns were $34 at auction, so I think they will go to $50 or $55 by Christmas," he told news.com.au
"There's just not many around."
According to the Gold Coast Bulletin, customers on the Gold Coast can expect to pay more for seafood this Christmas because much of it will have to be imported.
An extra $5 a kilogram has already been added to the price of prawns and crabs as seafood markets struggle to get their hands on fresh local product, which has been impacted by poor weather conditions.
According to the newspaper, there has been fewer crustaceans in Gold Coast waters because the strong southerly winds have made water temperatures cooler than normal.
It not expected to improve either, with trawlers predicting they will be able to get out on the water only a further three times before Christmas because of the wind.
"Usually, I would catch up to about two tonnes of prawns from November to Christmas but I haven't caught a tonne yet," Gold Coast fishing trawler Donna King said.
"I would have only caught about 500 kilos.
"I'm looking to lose about 10 or 20 grand this month."
But Tony said while king prawns may be in shorter supply, there's an abundance of tiger prawns that - in his opinion - taste just as good if not better.
"Medium sized tigers prawns will be available at a much better price," he said.
"Fresh Australian cooked tigers will be around $30 or $35 a kilo. There's lots around meaning they are at a good price. They taste the same, although I personally like a tiger better."
In a statement to news.com.au, Jane Lovell from Seafood Industry Australia said prawns are always one of the most popular seafood items at this time of year, with consumers set to eat around 50,000 tonnes this festive season.
"Australia's commercial fishers are working hard in the lead up to the festive period to
ensure we have access to a wide variety of world class seafood for Christmas," she said.
"To ensure you don't miss out on your Aussie seafood this festive season it's always
a good idea to place an order with your fishmonger early."
Jonathan Davey, Executive Director to Seafood Industry Victoria said 'traditional' seafood lines such as tiger prawns will not be impacted by any shortages.
"We fully expect a bumper season of supply and consumer demand across the Victorian seafood industry," he said.
"There are no expectations of price fluctuation in the lead up to Christmas."
Marshall Betzel from Queensland Seafood Marketers Association said consumers have the opportunity to stock up on scallops for Christmas thanks to a "bumper" season.
"They aren't really iconic Christmas foods, but let me tell you, people should consider a dozen half-shell scallops baked in a hot oven with some butter and garlic; delicious," he said. "There is an abundance of them and they are very good value."
Outside of the co-ops, supermarkets will also be lowering their prawn prices ahead of Christmas. Currently Coles has fresh tiger prawns for $34 a kilogram, Woolworths fresh Crystal Bay cooked medium prawns for $28 a kilogram, while Aldi will stock extra large tiger prawns (frozen) for $26.66 per kilo.