Lincoln lobster in high demand

SEAFOOD EXPORTER: John Brady of Best Ociana Seafood is looking to purchase ock lobsters and king crabs from local commercial fishers.
SEAFOOD EXPORTER: John Brady of Best Ociana Seafood is looking to purchase ock lobsters and king crabs from local commercial fishers.

MOUNT Gambier-based seafood exporter Best Ociana Seafood, which has set up shop on Kangaroo Island, received its first delivery of southern rock lobster (SRL) from Port Lincoln at the weekend.

The company has been in operation since December 2015, when it bought the operations of Stanke Ociana Seafood in Carpenter Rocks, South Australia.

In April 2016, the company acquired Fitzgerald Fish Sales, in Mount Gambier, and now takes in lobsters at seven ports from Cape Jaffa to Port McDonnell and last year exported more than 400 metric-tonnes of live southern rock lobster.

Best Ociana Seafood, which is looking to purchase as many rock lobsters from commercial fishers as possible as the company expands its exports into Asia, recently put the call out to all Northern Zone rock lobster fishers.

Best Ociana Seafood chief executive officer John Brady said the company wanted to access northern zone rock lobster to take advantage of the longer harvest period.

“We’ll work to have successful win-win partnerships with fishers on Kangaroo Island and as far away as Port Lincoln and Pondalowie,” Mr Brady said.

“Our ambition is to be a year-round supplier to our customers in Asia of live southern rock lobster, as well as king crab.”

Mr Brady said the company had received a “warm welcome” from fishers.

“We...have already had significant deliveries of SRL – I believe the first delivery from a Port Lincoln fisher (took) place over the weekend ,” he said.

Mr Brady said the company was a southern rock lobster quota holder in the Southern Zone fishery and had established long-term commercial relationships with fishers in that area and now wanted to build relationships with local commercial fishers. 

He said Best Ociana Seafood in Kingscote, Kangaroo Island was offering Port Lincoln fishers the opportunity to drop their southern rock lobsters or king crab catch and optimise their time in the Kangaroo Island fishery.

Mr Brady said dropping the lobster at Kingscote would allow fishers to catch more, limit the risk of lobster heath deterioration in the long journey back to Port Lincoln and reduce fuel costs by avoiding the Kangaroo Island to Port Lincoln journey.

The Northern Zone southern rock lobster fishery is open from November 1 to September 30 for the outer area and from November 1 to May 31 for the inner area.