Ocean Pacific Seafoods has reopened its retail doors just in time for Christmas with new owner Sampie Nieuwoudt saying seafood lovers will be in heaven.
The Ocean Pacific Seafoods factory, based at the Port Marina Burnett Heads, is the home of the delicious spanner crab, and now the retail store has opened in time for Queensland’s warm Christmas celebrations.
“Christmas here is about seafood,” Sampie said.
“I hope to make people happy, and with the Christmas seafood they can have a good Christmas and be blessed!”
Moving from South Africa to follow his passion for seafood, Sampie purchased Ocean Pacific Seafoods with his business partners in October, saying he couldn’t miss an opportunity which also gave him and his family the chance to live in a great region.
“I moved to Bundaberg after I saw this business opportunity was for sale, and it’s an awesome place, much better than where I have come from,” Sampie said.
“I have three daughters and they are all very excited to move to Australia and will start school at Bundaberg Christian College next year.
“I decided to reopen the retail side after I had so many people keep asking me when we were going to reopen.
“They just kept asking and so we thought we would reopen because of this demand, we were pretty much forced in to it, but it’s going really well.”
Life on the sea inspires new seafood business owner
Growing up in South Africa, Sampie said the ocean was his life and he had spent years catching and selling fresh seafood himself.
“I started fishing in 1988 when I was 18 years old and I been at sea myself driving boats, for the best part of the last 30 years, catching all sorts of fish,” he said.
“I just love seafood and here we have so much variety, from spanner crab, we are the home of the spanner crab and have raw and cooked spanner crab meat, to reef fish, prawns and scallops; we have it all fresh off the boats.
“My favourite is the smoked Spanish mackerel, which is perfect in a salad.
“Platters are available as well as the variety of fresh seafood.”
Ocean Pacific Seafoods home of the spanner crab
Sampie said the Bundaberg Region is said to be the home of the spanner crab and he understood Ocean Pacific Seafoods could be one of the biggest suppliers of the crustacean on the east coast, if not all of Australia.
“You won’t get any fresher spanner crab then here.” Sampie said.
“Last night they offloaded about one-and-a-half tonnes of spanner crab and we expect between two to three tonnes on Sunday.”
Spanner crabs, also known as grog crabs, are easily recognisable by their frog-like appearance and bright red colour, and the name is derived from the spanner-shaped claws.
They are found on the east and west coasts of Australia, from Yeppoon in Queensland to Nowra in New South Wales and from Quinn Rocks north of Perth to the Houtman Abrolhos and Geraldton in Western Australia.
Ocean Pacific Seafoods uses three specific boats that travel up to 200km to catch the spanner crabs, and Ocean Pacific Seafoods retail manager Mat Taylor said the meat from this particular crab was preferred by many seafood lovers.
“A lot of people would prefer spanner crab over a mud crab as they find it a lot sweeter,” Mat said.
“Spanner crabs vary in size and anything smaller than 300 you have to chuck them back and they get up to about one kilo. They really are delicious.”
A great time to reopen Ocean Pacific Seafoods retail
“As well as selling the fresh seafood here now in the retail shop, we supply retail shops around the area and some of it is exported to China and to Taiwan,” Sampie said.
“I am very fortune to have great staff who understand seafood and are doing a wonderful job, the only change to the factory business was me.”
Ocean Pacific Seafoods retail manager Mat Taylor said he’d been in the Burnett Heads business for about a decade and it was nice to see the retail side reopen to provide the community with beautiful seafood straight from the boats.
“It’s excellent news to have the retail side reopen,” Mat said.
“We have had people not only from Bundaberg come out to buy seafood, but also people from the Gold Coast and Brisbane.”
Mat said the Ocean Pacific Seafoods retail shop open hours were 9am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 2pm Saturday and Sunday.
“We are open every day and open from 9am to 3pm on Christmas Eve also,” Mat said.
- Other seafood news: Oceanfest 2019 celebrated by more than 10,000 people