Summer Seafood Chooices
Blue-eye trevalla Available year-round but peak supply in summer. Deep-water species caught off Victoria’s coast. A large fish, up to 80 centimetres, it has delicate-flavoured firm flesh and few bones. Suitable for most types of cooking. Occasionally served sashimi style. Widely available.
Snapper A bream, not to be confused with tropical snapper. Available year-round, Con Andronis from Clamms says it’s been the best snapper season in years, with huge numbers swimming into Port Phillip Bay. With sweet, mild-flavoured flesh, snapper is a versatile fish because it is available in sizes from 30 centimetres to 60 centimetres. Most of the large snapper are caught wild, while baby snapper is also farmed. Suitable for most types of cooking. Head good in stocks and available whole, filleted or in cutlets. Pin bones easy to remove. Port Phillip snapper recently given tick by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF).
Flathead There are many species of flathead but tiger flathead caught off Lakes Entrance and Portland is widely available. Rock flathead is pricier and can be more difficult to come by. Mild-flavoured firm flesh, which can dry out. More suitable for grilling, steaming or deep-frying. Skinned and boneless fillets or tails increasingly available.
Prawns Wild-caught school prawns from Lakes Entrance are plentiful in the summer months.
Southern rocklobster Also called crayfish in Victoria. Caught along southern coast from Apollo Bay to Portland. Best in summer as females waste away over winter when breeding. Flesh is rich-tasting and firm. Excellent boiled, on the barbecue, grilled or steamed but don’t overcook or will become dry. Prices vary depending on supply.
Yellow-eye mullet Supply can be erratic but caught in Port Phillip Bay particularly in summer months. Quite oily and strong smelling, mullet is suited to baking and grilling although those adverse to strongly flavoured fish may prefer it smoked, or remove the fat layer beneath the skin.
Mussel Available year-round but smaller in winter so makes for better eating in the warmer months. Farmed widely in Victoria but supply can be erratic depending on environmental conditions. Great sustainable choice as it is bottom of the food chain.
Octopus A byproduct rather than targeted species often caught in seine nets off Lakes Entrance and at Portland or caught in lobster pots in Victorian waters. Very popular in Mediterranean dishes. You can eat the head but most flesh is in the tentacles.
Abalone Most locally available abalone is farmed. Ocean Wave Seafoods farm near Geelong has received the ACF tick and there are many farms near Mallacoota. Wild abalone mostly go to high-end restaurants or are exported. Saute or fry briefly so as not to toughen. Alternatively, cut abalone flesh into strips, place in a colander and pour over two cups of boiling water.
Yabby Farmed in Victoria but not widely available.
Sea mullet Available year-round although not a big catch for Lakes Entrance fishermen. May be difficult to source because of its low value. Strong flavour.
On sharks: The predominant species landed in Victoria is gummy shark, which is not considered at risk of overfishing. Lack of bones makes gummy popular but the umbrella term ”flake” in Victoria makes it difficult to identify the shark on offer. There are significant bycatch issues with some gummy fisheries.