Australia’s lobster exports to China were blocked, causing its domestic lobster prices to plummet. With the anxiety of fishermen, Australians have achieved “lobster freedom” and scrambled to buy luxury goods on the former table. Australia’s two supermarket chains, Woolworths and Coles, had to announce purchase restrictions one after another.
According to the Australian on December 15, Woolworth Supermarket has imposed a limit of four lobsters per person per transaction across Australia, and Coles Supermarket will also implement the same restrictions from Wednesday (16th).
Coles Supermarket launched half-price lobster before Christmas this year. The price of Western Australian Rock Lobster has dropped to 20 Australian dollars each, and the price of Woolworth Supermarket is the same.
Coles supermarkets bought lobster this year 29 times that of last year. A spokesman for the supermarket said that it was “great” to see so many customers want to support the local seafood industry.
He said that Coles supermarkets has an Australian priority procurement policy, and “we are proud to be able to purchase seafood from all over the country, especially when our suppliers’ seafood exports are restricted.”
At Woolworth supermarket, in just four days since the sale of lobster in Australia, the supermarket chain has sold more than twice as much lobster sales throughout last year’s Christmas. Woolworth expects to sell more than 35 tons of lobster this year, compared with 6.5 tons last year.
A Woolworth spokesman said that the purchase restriction was implemented to ensure that more customers can enjoy lobster before Christmas. “Since launching our Western Australian Rock lobster across Australia last week, we have seen incredible customer demand… We are replenishing lobster as soon as possible.”
The Australian quoted an online comment to describe the exaggerated picture of purchase restrictions: “Australia went from panic buying toilet paper to panic buying lobster in 2020.
According to Tim Dudding, head of Woolworth’s meat and seafood department, selling more lobster is a “win-win” for the industry and consumers. On the one hand, it provides a way out for Western Australian fishermen and more ordinary families to enjoy it at the Christmas table. Luxury goods of the past.
Coles and Woolworth are the two largest supermarket chains in Australia, with a combined market share of 80% of Australia.
But it is unknown how much their procurement will compensate for the losses of Australian fishermen. According to an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on December 11, Matt Rutter, the CEO of Woolworth’s Western Australian rock lobster supplier and the Geralton Fisherman’s Cooperative, said that Woolworth’ lobster purchase accounted for only a small part of the company’s total catch. , but it is still important because local consumers can buy cheaper lobster, and lobster processing also requires more human resources.
In the past two weeks and a half, the co-op has added about 200 employees, Root said.
“Unfortunately, the fishermen got a lower price.” Root said. He also refused to say how much the supermarket could profit from the price of 20 Australian dollars.
Brolos Fresh, the cooperative’s wholesale seafood store in Geralton Port, opened only in July this year. Manager Luke Emery said that many locals bought lobster for the first time.
At Brolos Fresh, a 1.5kg lobster sold for 100 Australian dollars, but Emory said that a year ago, such lobster would be shipped to China for 250 Australian dollars.
China is Australia’s largest export market for lobster. According to Australian government data, from 2018 to 2019, the total export value of lobster from the country was 752 million Australian dollars, of which about 94% were sold to China.
According to an Australian Broadcasting Corporation report on December 5, there are fishermen selling lobster at the wharf at the wharf at 30-50 Australian dollars in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and other states rich in rock lobster in South Australia.
Roger Cutting, president of the Port McDonnell Professional Fisherman Association, said bluntly, “This is the biggest industry crisis I have seen in 50 years”. Australia’s domestic market cannot support the country’s lobster industry, and the Chinese market is crucial to the Australian lobster industry. Cartin said that in Port McDonnell, most fishermen “sit there and do nothing” waiting for news from China.