Coronavirus import ban worries Australian seafood producers
Thursday, February 06, 2020, 06:00 (GMT + 9)
China has temporarily shut down seafood imports over coronavirus fears, leaving Australian producers with millions of dollars’ in excess stock.
While the move will likely mean cheaper produce for local consumers, it could be a massive blow for the industry, which relies heavily on exports.
China has put a halt to live animal trade over coronavirus fears, and it could be months before it starts accepting fresh Australian seafood again.
Red guards with protection continue their routine (Photo: Bloomberg video)
Sales of coral trout and mud crab have plummeted in Queensland with up to 40 boats being pulled from the water, according to the Queensland Seafood Industry Association.
South Australia’s rock lobster industry, which exports 95 per cent of its stock to China, has also already been devastated by the outbreak.
China and Southeast Asia make up about 99 per cent of Queensland’s live coral trout market.
The mud crab trade has also been rocked by the ban, as the usually high demand over the Chinese New Year fizzled out.
Coronavirus restrictions are damaging Australia's seafood sales, especially to the Chinese market.(Photo: Bloomberg video)
Queensland Seafood Industry Association chief executive officer Eric Perez warns action must be taken quickly to save jobs.
“It’s pretty much killed that market in the interim,” Perez said.
“The market has been pulled out from under us.”
Perez will be part of a round-table discussion with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Wednesday, which he says is critical to helping the trade.
“We need the help quickly. We don’t need any bureaucratic mumbling,” he said.
The scared public has looked for different ways to feel protected(Photo: Bloomberg video)
Industry grinds to halt
Australia’s domestic market could become flooded with seafood product if providers are prevented from selling to Asia.
Perez says this could lead to a drop in price, which is great for consumers but could lead to crews being unable to pay business overheads.
Author: Michael Doyle /7News