WA Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) Chief Executive Officer, Alex Ogg, is encouraging West Australians to not only enjoy local seafood this Christmas but to add some of the lesser known species to the mix in the spirit of sustainability.
“This year we are encouraging consumers to think outside the box of the usual favs such as dhufish, pink snapper or red emperor – and to include some of the unknown.”
“Fish species such as WA blue eyed trevalla, mullet, leather jackets, gurnards, deepwater flathead, herring, harpuka, blue grenadier, silver trevally or catfish are versatile and can be easily cooked on the BBQ, oven or stove. These species are generally less expensive, equally tasty and are caught by small, local operators found throughout 13,000 km of WA’s vast coastline.”
“Don’t be afraid to cook with South-West shark as there will be a number of species available throughout the Christmas period including fillets of gummy, bronze whaler and carpet shark. Other species to consider include cuttlefish and squid found throughout WA waters, and cockles from in Shark Bay.”
“Of course wild-caught Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified prawns from Shark Bay and Exmouth will always be a family favorite. Whether they are served cold with wedges of lemon or are flash-fried in chilli and garlic – there is a flavor combination for everyone. This year there are plenty available and readily accessible now. MSC certified Western Australian octopus is always a popular choice and you can buy either marinated or as prepackaged tentacles which can be charred on the grill and served either hot or chilled in an occi salad.”
“Additionally, we can all take a leaf out of chef Melissa Palinkas’, executive chef and co-owner of Young George, book. Melissa’s philosophy is ensuring the whole animal or plant is used and there is zero waste. This attitude is so important as reducing food waste has both environmental and economic benefits including lowering household food bills and keeping food waste out of landfills. It can be as simple as instead of throwing out prawn and fish heads – using them to make a broth.”
Mr Ogg advised consumers to not get disheartened about prices when shopping for WA seafood but simply to look for species that will fit within the Christmas budget. This is where lesser known species hit the mark, providing some great value options from local WA waters caught by local producers.”
Concluding, Mr Ogg said it is important to know where your seafood comes from.
“I have had people tell me that they have assumed the seafood they are purchasing is Australian – to only find out later that it isn’t from our pristine waters. Often they feel disappointed and frustrated for not thinking to ask.”
“The reality is, even though Australia imports a high percentage of its seafood – it is not mandatory for the hospitality or retail industries in WA to stipulate the country of origin of seafood species. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to ask the question. We encourage that if you’re ever in doubt – ask if it’s WA seafood on the menu.”
“When choosing local, you know that it has been caught or produced in well-managed fisheries and farms under sustainable practices. You’re also helping our local professional fishers, economy and coastal and regional communities.”
“Remember although you choose ‘local’ doesn’t mean you have to pay premium price. It comes down to a change in mindset and choosing species, that are equally as delicious and versatile, and that meet the holiday budget.”