Busi­ness on the boil

Geraldton Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - Ge­off Vi­vian

Restau­rant owner Colin Cox with a fresh 2kg rock lob­ster in his kitchen. Lob­sters, highly pop­u­lar with Chi­nese tourists, have be­come more af­ford­able with the an­nounce­ment of a new quota for fish­er­men.

The WA Gov­ern­ment is al­low­ing fish­er­men to sell an ex­tra 100 rock lob­sters each to be con­sumed here in WA.

Skee­tas Restau­rant owner Colin Cox said it was a boost to busi­ness that en­abled him to sell lob­sters to tourists and the pub­lic at a price they could af­ford.

“We’ve got a mul­ti­tude of Chi­nese tourists com­ing through and we prob­a­bly triple our turnover in cray­fish since we’ve been able to get them at a rea­son­able price,” he said.

The ex­tra quota has been al­lo­cated for the third year in a row be­cause more than 95 per cent of WA’s rock lob­ster catch would oth­er­wise go to China.

Mr Cox said each time it had tripled his lob­ster turnover.

“I’ve been buy­ing prob­a­bly 25 fresh crays a week whereas in pre­vi­ous years I might only have bought 12 ev­ery three or four weeks,” he said.

“We are known as the cray­fish cap­i­tal, and years gone by peo­ple have come in ex­pect­ing to get it and we haven’t got any.”

Fish­eries Min­is­ter Dave Kelly said ad­di­tional sup­plies of Western Aus­tralia’s prized western rock lob­ster would be made avail­able for WA fam­i­lies and tourists to en­joy over the sum­mer fes­tive sea­son through to Easter 2019.

“The McGowan Gov­ern­ment is ex­tend­ing the pop­u­lar Lo­cal Lob­ster Pro­gram for a four-month pe­riod, to bring an ex­tra 25,000 lob­sters to din­ing ta­bles in homes and res­tau­rants through­out the State,” he said.

Fish­er­men can only sell the spe­cially tagged rock lob­sters to res­tau­rants, fresh fish re­tail­ers or di­rect to the pub­lic.

Pic­ture: Ge­off Vi­vian

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