Seafood lovers prove they're not shellfish by lining up
LINES down Ballina's streets have made it official, the area's Christmas dish of choice is seafood.
In the wake of China's embargo on Aussie seafood, the Australian Seafood Industry's campaign for locals to add seafood to their Christmas spreads has paid off for Ballina businesses.
A viral video shared on social media has shown a line hundreds of metres long queuing at 7am to pick up seafood from Northern Rivers Seafood on River St in Ballina.
Another local business, Ballina's Fishermen's Co-Op, had customers lined up since doors opened at 4am to grab the ever-popular oysters and prawns as well as the local whole snapper.
"Two things are popular this year - our local whole snapper is in high demand," operations manager Alister Robertson said.
"There has been a little bit of whirlwind over crayfish and lobster this year with the political climate and Aussie's getting behind lobster fisherman.
"We probably ordered in more crayfish than we normally would, but also its become slightly more affordable - that's a good thing, it puts them in reach of average Aussie."
Mr Robertson said while it was normal to have a Christmas rush, this year was definitely the busiest he had seen.
"We increased our supply of oysters by 30 per cent from last year and they sold out by 9.15am," he said.
The shop had also more than doubled their normal staff for the day to help keep up with demand.
"I think this (year) is much busier, this year is really busy and I'm sure that has a lot to do with travel restrictions and people holidaying locally," Mr Robertson said.
He explained the business had adapted to service the lines quicker by forming a smaller pop-up shop out of back of the main Co-op building for those who just wanted prawns and oysters.
"This time of the year ingrained in Aussie culture to have seafood on the Christmas table," Mr Robertson said.
The Co-Op is owned by local fishermen who have equal shares in the business and has been operating since 1950.