SUCCULENT seafood caught fresh off the coast of North Queensland will be in abundance this Christmas, with prawns and bugs in plentiful supply.
Fishers are encouraging families to include wild caught Australian seafood in their festive feast in a bid to prop up the industry amid regulatory green-tape.
NQ Marina Fresh Seafood manager Lucas Dansie said while farmed seafood has its place in the market, consumers should be looking to purchase sustainably caught wild seafood to support the industry.
"There is that much pressure on the fishing industry, that for some the future is looking pretty bleak," Mr Dansie said.
"The biggest things is that if people want to have real Australian seafood they need to keep buying and supporting us."
Mr Dansie said at the height of the northern season, which runs from March 1 to December 15, up to 35 trawlers would fish in the waters off North Queensland.
This year, he expects to sell about five tonnes of king prawns, with the red spot variety unique to Townsville, always proving the most popular. Prices will remain reasonable at $34/kg.
Mr Dansie said about three to four tonne of bugs would also be sold during the Christmas rush.
"We are quite popular with the station hands and properties out west from Charters Towers, Hughenden, who keep coming back year after year so we must be doing something right."
Mr Dansie said the northern monsoon earlier this year had a surprising impact on prawn supplies.
"The runoff wipes out some but they come back three fold.
"Usually in a dry year, you get king prawns and in the wet you get a good tiger prawn season.
"It definitely has an affect, that sort of disaster, but they are both very resilient and the tigers were brilliant and the king prawns were not really effected that much."
Arabon Seafood owner Terry Must said the quality and quantity of seafood would provide good value for consumers in the north.
"The prawns, bugs and scallops are pretty good, the quality is just great.
"The most popular prawns are the bananas and they had a good season, next is the endeavours and the tigers, we have a really good supply and prices are reasonable."
Mr Must said prawns would cost in the high $20s and bugs would sell for the mid-$30s. Mudcrabs are in limited supply this year however, with the crustaceans attracting upward of $60-$70/kg at Sydney fish markets.
Mr Must said orders were coming in thick and fast as his Bowen based business.
"When the weather is hot, people are thinking of a cold Christmas dinner which is great for us."
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