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Why you should go out and buy yourself a lobster

Victorian fishers are feeling the pinch as the coronavirus outbreak threatens their livelihoods.

Fishers were preparing for a massive spike in seafood demand, particularly for lobster, for Chinese New Year.

But the Chinese government has banned live seafood trade in an attempt stop the spread of coronavirus, so Australian fishers no longer have access to the mammoth Chinese market.

Wayne Dredge, a commercial fisherman based in Lakes Entrance, said the effect on his industry has been devastating.

“Most live seafood and a lot of fresh seafood from Australia goes into wet markets or direct to restaurants via wet markets,” he told 3AW’s Ross and John.

“The Chinese government, because of the coronavirus and their attempts to stop spreading it, have closed down wet markets and a lot of people just aren’t gathering at restaurants.

“Every processor and exporter in the country was sitting on fish for Chinese New Year, so you have a lot of exporters at capacity, you have boats still out fishing and then we actually wound up with zero market.”

The Victorian Fisheries Authority has put measures in place which will permit fishers holding live fish to return them to the water, but Mr Dredge said the Australian market is still flooded with lobster which was initially destined for China.

“A lot of people are pushing lobster in the domestic market,” he said.

So head out and support Victoria’s fishing industry — go buy a lobster!

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Image: Zhonghui Bao / Getty