17/01/2006 - 21:00

Crabs pinch ‘fresh catch’ title

17/01/2006 - 21:00

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The WA Fishing Industry Council has joined an initiative with the Kailis Bros Fishing Group and Abacus Fisheries to promote unique Western Australian blue swimmer crabs.

Crabs pinch ‘fresh catch’ title

The WA Fishing Industry Council has joined an initiative with the Kailis Bros Fishing Group and Abacus Fisheries to promote unique Western Australian blue swimmer crabs.

Declaring January 15 to February 15 2006 ‘Mad Crab Mania’, Fishing Industry Council chief executive Graham Short opened proceedings on Monday at Kailis Bros in Leederville.

The promotion of specific seafood in this manner won’t be new to Perth diners – just think of the Sardine Festival – but crabs have suffered from something of an image crisis over the years.

The belief that crabs are merely the unlucky by-products of trawl fishing has scuttled their assent to mainstream diets. So it is with promotions such as Mad Crab Mania that fishing industry groups seek to promote the value of WA’s north-west crab industry.

Blue swimmer crabs from Shark Bay are characterised by a sweet clean flavour and firm texture.

The family-owned Abacus Fisheries, which operates out of Shark Bay, has been touting the value of blue swimmer crabs ever since their association with the product began.

The company won the prestigious national promotion award at the 2003 Australian Seafood Industry Awards for its work in supporting the product domestically and overseas.

Abacus is one of the largest crab facilities in Australia. The company is credited with encouraging the local fishing industry to improve the quality of catching, landing, packaging and marketed blue swimmer crabs.

Although encased in a shell, crab meat is relatively delicate and traditional fishing methods often degrade the flesh. Abacus’ fishing techniques have been recognised as world leading, something managing director Peter Jecks credits to the success of his company.

Abacus harvests crabs daily, returning catches to port in Carnarvon immediately. Crabs are then sedated prior to being graded and individually packed and blast frozen to ensure the integrity of the flesh remains.

Now in partnership with the Kailis Group, Abacus Fisheries hopes to encourage more people to come out of their shell and try its product.

And, for the record, the blue swimmer crabs will be available as crispy crab cakes, Singapore chilli crabs or blue crabmeat and linguini pasta.

And, not to be sidestepped by the promotion, WA winery MadFish has lent its liquid endorsement to the promotion, pouring complementary glasses of a range of its wines to accompany the crabs.

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