Around-Oz: Living the Dream!

Cape Jaffa - near Kingston - South Australia

Cape Jaffa is a sleepy little fishing village with two caravan parks, with one right on the waterfront. There is a general store, which also fronts as a bottle shop, dive shop and dive shop refills. Heading out towards the jetty, you will see a track with a little cart. This is used to haul in the lobsters caught by the deep sea fishermen. I was fortunate enough to spot a couple of guys sitting having a beer – an early smoko they assured me – so it seemed the natural thing to go and ask a few questions. Not only were my questions asked, but also I got to photograph the largest lobsters I have ever seen plus giant crabs that I have never seen before.

The lobster trade from Cape Jaffa is virtually all export - about 60% to mainland China, with the balance to Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The one in Tony’s hand is 4.25 kgs. The giant crabs are caught in a couple of hundred metres deep water on the continental shelf. Sometimes they weigh in at a massive 9 kgs. Once again these are destined for the export trade. The large claw of this male can actually hold a stubby can. The majority of the crabs are right handed – a fact I didn’t know.


 
 

“Prices for Australia seafood are the lowest they have been for several years for fishermen”, Tony confided. “People in Asia don’t seem to be going out anywhere as much as before the SARS outbreak and this is reflected in the going rate for our catch.”

The season for lobsters (crayfish) and giant crabs goes from the beginning of October to the end of April – 7 months. These days the Government regulates the tonnage caught within the range of 1750 to 1900 tonnes per annum. Each fisherman has an individual quota for the season. Tony said this means he is not working the hours he did several years ago, but is still making similar money. More importantly the numbers of lobsters and giant crabs are remaining constantly high.


 
 
 

Tony and Glen took the credit for one of the largest crabs caught on the south east coast – three years ago – they got a whopper – 5.8 kg. Very occasionally you get one over 6 kg. The one in our photo below is around 4.5 kgs. Interestingly enough, even though the female of the species is smaller in size, they have proportionally the same amount of meat as the male.


 
 
 


Where do you go to buy the fresh lobster in south east South Australia? Well there is a fish shop in Robe (see our review) and another at Kingston at the end of Marine Parade near the jetty. We will check out the Kingston one on our way home I am sure.

In this case, I think the photos tell the story. It is wonderful that the regulated catches are proving to be a win – win situation both for the local fishermen and the sea creatures. The main thing is that our future supplies of these wonderful seafood is protected.

Absolutely recommended.

Chrissy Eustace

HEMA 63 D 11

 

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