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Shoppers Could Be Forking Out $50/Kilo For Prawns Ahead Of Christmas

We're dealing with a national shortage

Shoppers Could Be Forking Out $50/Kilo For Prawns Ahead Of Christmas

Seafood lovers are being told to brace for an expensive silly season with the price of prawns predicted to climb as high as $50 a kilo.

Tiger and king prawn prices are already up around $30-35 a kilo due to a huge demand in supply leading up to summer.

Gold Coast Marine Agriculture Executive Director Nick Moore said south east Queensland farms are still suffering, more than one year on from an outbreak of white spot disease.

"For the entire lot of farmers in Logan we have no supply for Christmas, basically," he said.

"The white spot virus came in here and we're on stand now so we're one of the reasons why there's a shortage. Most of the farms in Logan would have had reserve supplies of frozen prawns for this time of the year, but we've got nothing."

"The plan at the moment, certainly for our company is to restock part of the farm under very strict bio-secure conditions, probably in September of next year. Which means we don't even have prawns for Christmas next year. It's a long, long process to get the Logan River boys back on track."

"We have had some reimbursement from the government, especially during this 'stand down' period where basically we're not permitted to farm. But some of the farms in Logan, ours included, have farms in the north as well. And those farms are in full production right now and will produce prawns for Christmas."

Nick said it's not the wholesale price that is increasing though, blaming the supermarkets for hiking up prices during the festive season. 

Pic: GC Tiger Prawns 

With talk we should be stockpiling and freezing prawns from now and with concerns that the prawns are frozen on the trawler so shouldn't be re-frozen, Triple M Brisbane's Marto, Ed and Robin put the call out to listeners for advice.

Dave, from Scarborough, has previously worked on prawn trawlers.

"If the prawn is still icy cold, you can freeze it. But if you've had that prawn sitting on the table for half an hour while everyone is having a nibble then you freeze it, the prawn will taste like s**t and you'll be off to the dunny pretty quick!" he said.

As for whether Marto's theory about prawns being frozen then thawed before they're sold to us...

"Yeah, they will. They'll bring it down in a brine, so it's still icy cold meaning the prawn maintains its integrity. It is as fresh as you can get."

Marto: "So it's okay for me to get 4 kilos today at $35 a kilo and freeze them?"

Dave: "Well, I wouldn't. It will still mean the prawn loses its integrity and it'll taste like s**t."

Andrew from The Fish Factory Morningside, said we should never buy a fresh prawn then freeze it.

"We buy them off the boats already frozen in 5 kilo boxes so we can break them down into one, two kilos," he said.

"We encourage our 4-5,000 customers a week to come in early, buy your prawns in a 5 kilo frozen box - they've been frozen straight off the boat, not re-frozen, then take them home and create your own salt water brine and drop them in the water. That's all that we do as retailers."