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Canberrans join rush for Easter seafood

Anthony Fragopoulos manager of the FishCo downunder in Fyshwick holds a 30kg sampson kingfish amongst some of the other fish on offer for Easter.

Anthony Fragopoulos manager of the FishCo downunder in Fyshwick holds a 30kg sampson kingfish amongst some of the other fish on offer for Easter. Photo: Colleen Petch

Canberrans are joining the annual rush for Easter seafood ahead of traditional Good Friday meals.

Retailers around Canberra are reporting high sales of fillet fish, including salmon, flathead and orange roughie as well as traditional seafood favourites of oysters and prawns.

FishCo Downunder store owner John Fragopoulos said Easter was starting to rival Christmas for seafood sales.

''Sales on the Wednesday and Thursday before Easter will bring in as much as a normal trading week, so we have gross takings of a fortnight at Easter,'' he said.

''We have a lot of experience in this busy time of year, but for our store at Belconnen and our new store outside the Fyshwick Market, we look at bringing on an extra 15 staff.''

Fragopoulos said snapper and John Dory were both selling well in recent days, but the extended prawn season was the breakout trend for Easter.

The family business has been operating in Canberra since 1997, with the Fragopoulos family involved in fishing in Australia for more than 40 years.

''Great prawns of from northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland are around in massive quantities at the moment so this Easter patrons will have a chance to enjoy good seafood at very good prices.''

He said the secret to buying prawns was to ''always try before you buy''.

''Some have shells which are harder to peel, others are sweeter or more salty and as you are making an investment, I believe it is important to have a taste first,'' he said.

University of Canberra fisheries expert Bob Kearney said the Australian industry was in excellent shape by world standards.

''Australians can eat fish this Easter with great confidence that species are well and truly sustainable and Australia's fisheries are in extraordinarily good shape,'' he said.

Professor Kearney said misconceptions about threats to fish species in the environment had caused some consumers to change their behaviour, but that only two Australian species were threatened.

''Orange roughie is a good example as it was over-fished in a very small part of its area in the 1980s and 1990s, but despite what some people think, it is very sustainable now.''

Research by IBISWorld found domestic spending on fish and seafood could grow by nearly 5 per cent this Easter, as Australians continue to observe Christian traditions of favouring meat on Good Friday.

Fish and seafood wholesaling contribute more than $4 billion to the Australian economy annually.

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