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Australian Crayfish?

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Martin King 207/04/2020 09:12:59
712 forum posts
277 photos

Hi All,

Just channel surfing last night and caught a documentary episode about "Lobster" fishing in Australia.

Actually crayfish but very big all the same. Seems there are several species of different value to the fish merchants.

Can anyone from Australia please tell me if the prices mentioned are correct: 80-100 Australian dollars per kilo! That is wholesale so what do they make in the fish shops? Also what is the season? Very short i guess?...

I used to have a small shellfish business buying and selling hand dived scallops here in Dorset and often bought lobster (with claws!), and while valuable they were nothing like those prices.

Cheers, Martin

Perko707/04/2020 13:17:27
344 forum posts
24 photos

As an Aussie I can confirm that lobster/crayfish is expensive here, usually around the figures you mention at public fish outlets. Those prices are for whole cooked lobster, but if you buy prepared lobster tails the price can be even higher. I don't know what duration the season is. One of the reasons for the high local price is that the majority of our premium shellfish such as lobsters/crayfish are exported, fetching high prices because of their quality, and the domestic market therefore has to follow. Apparently the current Covid 19 restrictions have caused prices for some of these delicacies to drop by up to 15% due to reduced demand, as most restaurants are closed and some overseas trade has slowed as well.

Paul Lousick07/04/2020 14:32:28
1491 forum posts
568 photos

I live in Australia and cannot remember the last time that I had lobster. Most are exported and sold at exorbitant prices, much more than I can afford. Our next option for shell fish are mud crabs which sell for $30 - $60 per kg.

Lobsters/crayfish are actually on sale at the moment from my local green grocer that also sells seafood. They are selling half a small cooked lobster weighing only 350g for A$22 each (A$62.83 per kg)

They are imported from Tristan Island which is in the South Atlantic Ocean between South America and South Africa. Unfortunately, I will not be having them for Eater.


mick H07/04/2020 16:14:41
723 forum posts
21 photos

Last time in Western Australia on the way to Margaret River we stopped at a little crayfish farm where my wife partook of a significant crayfish lunch. Unfortunately I have a reaction to shellfish but she really rated them. I believe they called them "marrans" or possibly "marrons". Very reasonable price as I recall.


Martin King 207/04/2020 17:21:38
712 forum posts
277 photos

Thanks guys for that info.

Much the same as Longoustine. Virtually all longoustine that are caught go yo European markets at very high prices. Most are landed at Peterhead.

£40 a kilo wholesale is without doubt the highest price I have ever seen for lobster/ Crayfish! Assuming 2:1 for the Aus dollar


Steviegtr07/04/2020 23:26:26
1349 forum posts
140 photos

Over here in the UK. Crayfish are causing many problems. They are in the inland waterways & eating all the fish, or is it killing them not sure.


Hopper08/04/2020 02:47:34
4760 forum posts
104 photos

They were once regarded as "cockroaches of the sea" and were so plentiful and cheap that some indentured servants' contracts specified they be fed lobster no more than three times a week maximum.

Of course, they taste much better now since the price went up so much.

I haven't eaten crayfish since I was a kid - it was cheap then -- so no idea of current price here in Australia, other than it's out of range for ordinary people who have important tools and motorbike parts to spend their money on.


Edited By Hopper on 08/04/2020 02:52:09

Pero08/04/2020 05:03:47
114 forum posts

Lots of confusion here - not surprising as many Australians are also confused by the terminology.

Australia's crayfish/lobsters can basically be categorised into freshwater and seawater species.

The freshwater species all look quite similar but range in size from a couple of centimetres to the giant Tasmanian species which can weigh in at over two kilograms. The appearance of these species with their large claws is somewhat similar to the marine lobster of North American and European waters, however these are actually all crayfish.

The marron ( same spelling for singular and plural ) is a native south-western Australian species of freshwater crayfish. It can be cultivated in dams and there is a small aquaculture industry built about it. They have a sweeter taste and are preferred by some people to the marine lobster/crayfish.

The wickedly overpriced marine crayfish/lobsters are neither crayfish nor true lobsters. Traditionally called crayfish by the locals, the name was changed ( in the face of some antagonism ) to Rock Lobster to market them first to the Japanese market and more recently to the Chinese. They are actually spiny lobsters and lack the large claws of the northern hemisphere true lobsters. The industry is very tightly regulated - to protect the stocks - and prices paid overseas very high, hence the ridiculous price which puts them out of reach of most Australians. They are now most commonly marketed as Southern Rock Lobster.

The superficially similar spiny lobsters of northern Australian waters are badly behaved ( they don't readily go into traps ) and most are caught by divers. As a result the industry around these is small.

I trust that this adds to the confusion. My only excuse is that I didn't have anything else to do. Well I do but it's hot outside and in the workshop - 33 degrees C today. Must go, I think the dogs are destroying the lounge room.

Keep well


Paul Lousick08/04/2020 06:44:40
1491 forum posts
568 photos

We also have another freshwater crustacean in Australia called a yabby, found in fresh water rivers and dams. A bit like a prawn (shrimp) but with a big pair of nippers that can puncture your fingers if not careful. (don't ask how I know). Originaly only used the smaller ones as fishing bait but now becoming popular to eat and far cheaper than crayfish.



Hollowpoint08/04/2020 12:25:19
331 forum posts
31 photos

It's all lies. I refuse to believe Australians eat anything other than barbecued shrimp. 😁

Hopper08/04/2020 12:33:26
4760 forum posts
104 photos

And meat pies.

Bill Davies 208/04/2020 20:12:55
193 forum posts
11 photos

Eating yabbies brings back fond memories of staying with relatives near Moorine Rock, Western Australia, They were grown in large numbers in the 'dams' (pools) which are used for collecting water for growing wheat. But it was too expensive to send them to the 'other end' of Australia, where they commanded a high price.


Paul Lousick08/04/2020 23:26:09
1491 forum posts
568 photos

We don't eat shrimp in Australia ! Prawns, yes.

Danny M2Z09/04/2020 04:19:34
892 forum posts
283 photos

Many years ago (early '70's) while taking annual leave from the Australian Army in Western Australia a mate asked if I would like some paid fun by riding 'shotgun' on one of the lobster trawlers operating out of Geraldton.

Apparently Indonesian and other foreign fishermen were flouting Australian maritime laws and so a few well aimed shots usually scared them off.

I passed up on the offer but I know of a few Vietnam Vets who became proficient at taking out radar dishes and antennae on the fishing boats who violated the Australian Maritime Zone.

* Danny M *

Martin King 209/04/2020 08:03:08
712 forum posts
277 photos

Thanks guys for all that extra info.

In the Caribbean there are only the spiny lobster species and also occasionally we would get "slipper" lobsters while diving; about 6" long for a very big one but very tasty!

Here in UK the native freshwater crayfish is being destroyed by the larger invasive species which carry a disease fatal to the UK ones.

I briefly had a licence to catch them but was totally unsuccessful in catching any in a river that was "reputed" to be full of them.

There are (were?) vast numbers caught in the central Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, London.

Cheers, Martin

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