As trade disputes with China continue to strangle Australia’s prized agricultural export markets, a luxury Christmas staple has seen its market value drop significantly. Currently, Australian lobster prices have never been lower, and while that might not bode so well for anyone who makes a living from lobsters, it’s certainly good news for customers with the holiday season is fast approaching.
Simple market forces have been pushing the price down for these crustaceans throughout the year, with figures now dipping as low as $70-$100 per kilogram directly from some of the country’s top fishers. According to the ABC, some commercial fishers are even selling southern rock lobsters for $30-$50 per kilogram. That represents virtually no profit margin for the country’s top suppliers.
This follows an unprecedented price drop for high-end produce earlier this year, when the ongoing coronavirus pandemic forced many hospitality businesses to shut down, causing the seafood wholesalers to switch from supplying restaurants with top-tier produce, targeting homes and supermarket chains instead.
This is, of course, a direct result of China’s import ban on Australian live lobster, cutting out a market that previously accounted for more than 90% of the country’s rock lobster trade. As per Broadsheet, local lobster prices are expected to hike somewhat in the lead-up to Christmas, but it will not reach anywhere near the usual holiday prices. Especially if trade tensions continue in the new year.
Ongoing trade tensions have seen an impact on various Australian industries, ranging from wine to timber and barley. As estimated by The Conversation, an all-out trade war would cost Australia 6% of its GDP. Australian lobster prices being slashed is only part of a much larger and far more dire picture.
As we seek ways to help steer our primary producers through this tumultuous time, it’s never been more beneficial – for all parties involved – to buy sashimi-grade seafood from places like Sydney Fish Market and Queen Victoria Market, who are buying directly from these suppliers. Although many are now looking at partnerships with supermarket chains like Drakes and other independents.