Yabbies worth another look
When you lazily wander past the delicatessen section of the supermarket during a grocery shop it is easy to be drawn in by the vast array of produce on display.
Smallgoods abound – cheese, olives, dried tomatoes and delectable mixtures from every corner of Australia and beyond.
Specialty meat products are lined up, not far from a selection of creamy salads and the drifting aroma of freshly barbecued chickens is hard to avoid.
These days there are also displays of seafood with prawns from an ocean somewhere neatly stacked on ice – luring in the shopper who has all but thrown away the list of ‘necessities’ they had initially limited themselves to buy.
The deli is only one part of the shop. Each aisle has tempting ‘not necessary’ things on offer.
From a Wimmera perspective, what’s missing from the vast array of items on sale is some of the products we would love to be able to buy.
In the delicatessen, for example, as we peruse a row of prawns from the Philippines, where are the Wimmera yabbies?
Years ago, yabby farming appeared set to be the next big thing in boutique primary production across our region and many of us fully expected to soon see this delicacy readily available in our supermarkets and restaurants.
But it hasn’t happened, or at least at predicted levels, for a variety of reasons.
For most of us, if we want a feed of yabbies we have to go and catch them.
Which ponders the question: If we like yabbies so much, why haven’t we reached a stage where the more lazy among us can’t simply ask for them over the counter?
It is certainly worth considering fresh exploration into whether commercial yabby production is a serious untapped industry in our part of the world, or through regulation, market fluctuations and circumstance is mere folly and pointless.
We understand there has been plenty of anxiety surrounding the industry in the past.
What we also know, however, is that we have the ideal climate to grow this crustacean and that many people travel great distances when yabbies are ‘on’ at lakes across the region.
Critically, we also have security in water supply through the Wimmera-mallee Pipeline, which in the right circumstance, might have the potential to drought-proof future enterprise.
From a regional development perspective, yabby farming certainly qualifies for any ‘leave no stone unturned’ philosophy and might need another look.