There is a new player in town is looking to purchase as many rock lobsters and king crabs from Kangaroo Island commercial fishers as possible.
Mt Gambier-based seafood exporter Best Ociana Seafood has set up shop in an existing but unused seafood processing and lobster holding facility in Kingscote.
Chief executive officer John Brady said his company was looking to expand its exports into Asia and wanted to access northern zone rock lobster to take advantage the longer harvest period.
“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.
Best Ociana Seafood is a southern rock lobster quota holder in the Southern Zone fishery and has established long-term commercial relationships with fishers in that area, he said.
It now wanted to build relationships with rock lobster fishers on KI and also other northern zone quota holders that can drop off their catch on the Island, at either Vivonne Bay or Kingscote, to be processed at Kingscote.
“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.
The company has already a local person in Kingscote and is refurbishing its facility.
“We are family business and want to build long-term relationships with local fishers, providing the right service and making it convenient as possible,” Mr Brady said.
Best Ociana Seafood 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.
The company exported more than 400 metric-tonnes of live Southern Rock Lobster last year, primarily to China, Hong Kong and Singapore.
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. This compared to the Southern Zone that is open from Oct 1 to May 31.