Canberra's fishmongers were caught off guard by a fish-buying frenzy as customers prepared to have their traditional Good Friday meals at home.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, fish shops were in uncharted waters and had to act quickly to introduce home deliveries and social distancing measures.
Manager and co-owner of FishCo Fish Market in Fyshwick Anthony Fragopoulos said orders were being delivered late into the night on Thursday as the queue of customers at the retail outlet snaked out the door.
"We expected given that we had so much home delivery that our retail would be super quiet but it was actually the opposite," he said.
"We were overwhelmed with home deliveries and overwhelmed with retail as well. So it was pretty good."
The wholesale side of the business had been hit hard by the coronavirus restrictions on restaurants and pubs so they decided to start a home delivery service. FishCo redeployed its drivers and packers who usually work in wholesale into the home delivery service.
Mr Fragopoulos said the business made over 300 home deliveries, but that didn't stop people coming to the Fyshwick store in greater numbers than previous years.
"We were a little uncertain this year as to how it was going to go because all the restaurants were closed. We primarily have had very very quiet weeks in the past three or four weeks because of the coronavirus so we were a little bit cautious as to how much to buy and how we were going to go.
"And then we were taken totally by surprise yesterday when we were overwhelmed and we had people lining up outside."
He said the surge in foot traffic could be due to more people staying in Canberra, rather than going to the South Coast or other holiday destinations.
Owner and manager at Sea Harvest fish market Spyro Konidaris said their Belconnen and Fyshwick shops were "extremely busy" with demand on par with previous years. While Sea Harvest didn't offer delivery, the retail locations also faced long queues on Thursday.
"We've had to slightly change our displays to increase spacing inside the store. We've also had to put up signage regarding personal distancing and also had to limit the number of customers coming into the store at any one time," Mr Konidaris said.
"This year the line was moving but it was particularly long because of that reason."
FishCo had person at the door using a clicker to count how many customers were entering to make sure the one person per four square metre rule was adhered to. Signs on the glass display cabinets advised people to try to stand 2 metres apart. A large bottle of hand sanitiser was positioned at the checkout, where staff preferred contactless payment by card over cash.
Customers were in good humour despite the long queues and late deliveries.
"The public have been really really good and understanding," Mr Fragopoulos said.
"Getting a knock on the door at 10:30pm at night for a seafood delivery, we expected a lot more hostility from customers but generally I think people understand, so it was really nice to see that from the public."
Customers were treated to bargain prices for seafood this Easter with prices down 15-20 per cent. The Australian seafood industry was one of the first sectors to feel the effects of the coronavirus when exports to China came to a halt earlier this year, pushing more produce into the domestic market.
Mr Konidaris said the closure of restaurants, cafes and clubs has also lowered the demand from that sector and brought down prices for households.
He said prawns and oysters were very popular while more people were buying fillets over whole fish as a convenient option. For his Good Friday dinner, calamari and whole baked snapper were on the menu.
Mr Fragopoulos' pick was sea bass.
"Kids love it because there's no bones and you can cook it just about any way."
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