Buying lobster? What you need to know

It’s looking like lobster might be a common feature on Australian Christmas tables this year, so we have one important (but very simple) tip for you. When it comes to buying crustaceans, like lobsters and crabsmake sure you always buy them dead. 

This might seem like both a strange and obvious thing to say, but we cannot stress this enough – when it comes to lobsters, crayfish, crabs, Morton Bay bugs and yabbies, please don’t buy them alive and kill them yourself. Let a trained person do it for you and make sure they have done it humanely.  

Crustaceans have multiple nerve centres running through their bodies. Research has shown that killing without first stunning the crustacean and then quickly destroying the nerve centres means they will suffer.  

Like other animals that are slaughtered for food, stunning and killing must be done by skilled people using specialised equipmentThe stunning process ensures the animal is unconscious and insensible to pain

Stunning of crustaceans also needs to be reflective of the species and whether they are from a salt or freshwater environment. Getting this wrong means the animal will go into severe shock and die a painful death. 

Live crustaceans must NEVER be placed in the microwave or in hot or boiling water. 

The RSPCA has information about the most humane way to kill crustaceans for human consumption for those working in the seafood industry, including chefs and seafood sellers.

If you have a local seafood retailer and you would like to ensure the lobster and crab you buy has been killed humanely, ask them about their methods and let them know about the guide. 

Crustaceans must also be captured, handled, transported and stored as well as killed humanely. Find out more.

You might also be interested in Where to find RSPCA Approved salmon?

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