Christmas 2015 crayfish unaffordable with ‘almost 100% going to China’

Christmas 2015 crayfish unaffordable with ‘almost 100% going to China’

A South Australian lobster exporter is running at almost 100 per cent export, with local sales becoming impossible.

Robe’s Sky Seafoods owner Andrew Lawrie said he was hoping the price would not get too high for Christmas.

“Or people just will not buy lobster for Christmas,” he said.

China is Australia’s largest market for Southern Rock Lobsters, with an insatiable appetite for the crustaceans.

Southern Rock Lobsters are now selling for about $85 per kilo, but prices have reached as high as $125 per kilo this year.

Mr Lawrie said China’s bullish market behaviour, coupled with more corporate investment in the lobster industry, made it extremely difficult to sell lobster locally.

“It makes it really difficult. Your local sales are non-existent,” he said.
“At least at $85 it makes it more affordable.
“We weren’t comfortable though when we were paying a hundred plus.”

Mr Lawrie said this year he had increased the proportion of lobsters he live exported to China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan.

But he said it was not just China that was pushing up the price — it also was because of a greater presence of multinational companies on the beach.

“They are trying to put pressure on the smaller companies, to push them out of the industry,” he said.

“That’s [why] the prices are a bit inflated, because there is fighting on the beach level between exporters, and not all of it is market driven.”

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