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Lobster prices high for Christmas as exports to China boom

close up of rock lobsters in a plastic basket at a seafood supplier
These lobsters won't see the other side of Christmas.

ABC News: Carl Saville

Overindulgence is in keeping with many Christmas celebrations, but eye-popping retail prices for lobster could mean it is a luxury that is out of reach for many people this festive season.

Adelaide firm Ferguson Australia exports southern rock lobster but also has a small retail area at its Hendon premises, where it has cooked lobsters for sale.

Some of the finest specimens this Christmas have a price tag of $197, significantly higher than last year.

Despite that, managing director Andrew Ferguson said he still could not keep up demand both from local and overseas customers.

"The South Australian lobster is probably the highest-priced lobster in the world into the Chinese market."

Lobster bagged and priced for Christmas sale
Lobster is an indulgence at current prices.

ABC News: Chris McLoughlin

Lobster tails are selling online for $140 per kilogram and frozen whole lobsters at $90 per kilo.

Another firm Cappo Seafood is selling lobster tails for $100 and quotes its whole lobsters as "price on application".

Mr Ferguson said 97 per cent of the southern rock lobster caught in local waters was now exported, most of it to China.

"The Chinese love their live lobster, they love live abalone and other seafood, so it's certainly a great market on our doorstep for our produce," he said.

He said free trade deals and direct Adelaide-China air services would be likely to fuel export demand further.