Easter is one of the favourite times of year for buying and enjoying seafood with our families. Hundreds of thousands of people usually flock to fish markets across the region on Good Friday.
But in the age of COVID-19, what are the options for enjoying sustainable seafood this Easter?
The Australian and New Zealand governments are advising people to stay at home as much as possible to reduce the risk of transmission. Shopping for essential supplies such as groceries is permitted, with shoppers advised to return home without delay.
The lockdowns are having a huge impact on the seafood community. New Zealand's $1.8 billion-a-year seafood export industry has taken a massive hit with disruptions to international trade. Seafood NZ chief executive Jeremy Helson told TVNZ that local sales of seafood have dropped significantly due to NZ's current lockdown.
"I can't put a figure on it at this stage but it's certainly pretty significant. Obviously, a lot of wholesalers that sell direct to the public have been hit by this … fish and chips and of course, the restaurant trade."
Wez Norris, CEO of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, says, “Like many others, the Australian seafood industry is doing it tough right now, with interruptions to exports, travel restrictions and closures of restaurants here and all around the world,
“One of the simplest ways for Aussies to support Australian commercial fishers is to buy local, freshly caught and sustainable seafood from their local fish shop or supermarket. An upside to these turbulent times is that now more than ever there is a fantastic supply of quality, sustainable Australian seafood available for seafood lovers to buy and enjoy this Easter.”
Where to buy sustainable seafood this Easter
Many fish shops and markets in Australia are currently allowed to stay open, with strict social distancing measures in place. Check operating hours before you leave home, as shopping arrangements are subject to change.
For example, The Fish Shoppe, with locations at South Melbourne Market and Collingwood, remains open. They stock a wide range of Australian and New Zealand seafood, and were recently named Local Retailer of the Year in the MSC Sustainable Seafood Awards Australia 2020.
Like many stores adapting to life under COVID-19, they are now accepting online orders and offering home delivery. This makes it easy to stock up on seafood for yourself, if you can’t make it into the store. Or surprise your seafood-loving family and friends who are in strict self-isolation, by sending some top quality, sustainable seafood their way for Easter.
If you can't make it to your favourite fish shop, there’s a wide variety of sustainable seafood available in your local supermarket. Coles was recently awarded Best Sustainable Seafood Supermarket in Australia for their range of fresh, chilled, canned and frozen seafood available with the MSC blue fish tick. ALDI picked up the Best Sustainable Seafood Mid-Sized Retailer Award for having the biggest range of own label certified sustainable seafood products.
Find more places to buy sustainable seafood.
What sustainable seafood to buy
Rather than waiting until Good Friday, when it may be harder to observe social distancing, try to buy seafood in advance.
Many products like wild Aussie prawns are snap frozen at sea to lock in flavour and freshness, so buy them frozen and thaw them when you’re ready to enjoy.
Goolwa PiPiCo’s Live & Fresh pipis are packed using Modified Atmosphere Packaging technology. This injects a tiny dose of highly oxygenated air into a pack of pipis, extending the shelf life of the fresh pipi from five to ten days.
A tip from top chef Josh Niland at our recent Generation Seafood Masterclass: if you’re buying fresh fish from your local fish shop, ask your fishmonger to keep it dry, and not wash the fish in water. This will help keep the fish fresh for longer, minimising excess moisture which can make fish mushy when cooked.
Glacier 51 Toothfish, which was recently named Product of the Year in the MSC’s Sustainable Seafood Awards Australia 2020, is in high demand from top restaurants around the world. But with many restaurants closed because of COVID-19, the best place to enjoy this remarkable fish is at home. It’s now available in cutlets and smaller portions suitable for individuals and couples. Ask your local fish shop if they have it in stock.
And of course, always look for sustainable seafood with the MSC’s blue fish tick, to support fisheries which have joined the global movement to end overfishing.
How to celebrate with sustainable seafood this Easter
It’s never easy to be separated from our families and loved ones, especially during times of year when we usually look forward to spending time together.
If you can’t celebrate with your family this Easter, stay in touch by sharing favourite seafood recipes. Set up an online cooking class to learn how to cook your favourite family seafood recipes from your parents or grandparents – or to show your kids and grandkids how it’s done.
If you’re looking for recipe inspiration, you can find a wide range of sustainable seafood recipes on our website.
How are you planning to celebrate with seafood this Easter? Tag @loveoceanlovefood in your Instagram posts so we can share the love.