Businesses brace for fish frenzy

FILLETS will be at the top of the menu for many who observe the Catholic tradition to eat fish on Good Friday.

A steady stream of customers stopped at Petuna Seafoods in Launceston yesterday but store manager Donna Clare said today would be one of the busiest of the year.

``Tuesday was busier this time than last year and we're seeing a steady stream coming in now but on Thursday we'll see a line go around the building, so we'll be opening early,'' she said.

Ms Clare said the Easter period was as busy as Christmas when it came to buying seafood, but people bought more whole fish and fillets at this time of the year compared with crayfish and prawns in December.

She said the big sellers were the whole Atlantic salmon, tuna, trout and blue eye trevalla fillets and almost all but two species sold in the store were caught in Tasmanian waters.

Kyeema Seafoods manager Kristy Wilson said they had seen about a 25 per cent increase on sales this year compared with last, but put it down to the closure of a couple of businesses rather than a turn in the economy.

She said they expected to serve about 1000 customers over 11 hours today and would have a team of seven serving and about the same working behind the scenes preparing fish.

Ms Wilson said as the weather had been particularly good, they had good catches coming in on a wide range of fish from trevally to Atlantic salmon and ling but they would not be stocking crayfish this Easter due to the inflated cost.

Tasmanian crayfish are now retailing for about $120 to $130 a kilogram due to a decline in the New Zealand catch and the continuing demand from China.

Ms Wilson said many people had commented that they didn't know why they ate fish on Good Friday, but they had always done it and would continue to do so.

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