Ballina prawns are the best ever
SCHOOL prawns in the seas off Ballina are looking better than ever for Christmas, while those in the Clarence River this year are too small to trawl, according to local fishermen.
Ballina Fisherman’s Co-op general manager George Robinson, who trawls his prawns in the sea between Ballina and Kingscliff, said that this season’s prawns are the best he has seen.
“I have been in this business for 40 years and these are the best prawns I have ever had, and the customers are saying it too,” Mr Robinson said.
“There is an abundance of top-quality prawns and I don’t think there will be a shortage this Christmas.”
The iconic Australian Christmas seafood is often imported from Asia and sold for a fraction of the price of local produce, threatening the local seafood trade.
But there is still a market for those who value fresh local seafood.
“People like buying fresh seafood and prefer locally-caught prawns,” Mr Robinson said.
“And most of the time people are willing to pay a fraction more for it.”
Meanwhile, Clarence River trawlermen and Professional Fisherman’s Association members sacrificed income in agreeing to cease trawling in the river this year in favour of protecting and sustaining the catch.
“It has been noticed over the past few months that the size of prawns has decreased,” Professional Fisherman’s Association executive officer John Harrison said.
“It is the first year in living memory for many fishermen this has happened and it is just a mystery to us why it is happening.
“It is very difficult for the fisherman who made this decision, as many of them will be out of work this Christmas.”