Why there's a price hike on this seafood favourite
A SHARP hike in crab prices has not stopped diehard seafood fans from lining up to secure their Christmas favourites - but retailers have noticed a decline in sales over the past two years.
Mackay Fish Market owner David Caracciolo said they had been serving customers since 7am today with the two days before December 25 the busiest of the year.
However, lower than usual crab catches this year had pushed prices up to $59.99 per kilo at the River St store.
"It's less than we've had any Christmas. We'll have enough to get through," Mr Caracciolo said.
"We have southern customers we like to supply as well, and we haven't been able to supply them.
"We're actually sacrificing profit for our local market."
Mr Caracciolo said there had only been a significant price increase for crab in the past two years.
"Before that it was only around the mid to late $30," he said.
"And what we've seen is the lack of purchase compared to previous years.
"I can tell by the volumes we sell that the prices are affecting the consumption of them."
Mr Caracciolo said he did not believe the recent raids on local crab pots had affected prices.
"That is a concern in the crabbing industry and it is prevalent in the Mackay area," he said.
"But it's more demand and the lack of supply."
A lack of rain and the tides had resulted in lower catches.
"This time of year the price of all crustaceans is higher because the seasons have finished and the supply just isn't there," Mr Caracciolo said.
He predicted the supply would only decrease, pushing up prices even higher under the new proposed quota reforms.
"I think mud crab is going to be the lobster of the north," he said.
"I just hope everyone enjoys their wild caught local seafood and appreciates the work it takes to get the catch from ocean to plate."