Crayfishers playing a waiting game in the hope demand from China will help prices rise to last year's levels may be waiting a long time.

That's the word from the country's biggest live lobster exporter, the Fiordland Lobster Company, based in Te Anau.

Some crayfishers are being offered $60 a kg for their catch, so have decided to wait in the hope the price rises to the $80 they were getting last year. Three years ago it peaked at more than $100 a kg.

However, sales and marketing general manager of Fiordland Lobster David Prendergast said business had generally been "a lot harder" this year.


"The key thing is that the [Chinese] economy is showing signs of a slow- down and therefore the discretionary income in China to spend on high-value items may be cut back in all sectors, and obviously that will affect the demand for live lobster."

Prendergast said the company was selling the same amount as in previous years but there was a little more pressure on pricing because of the Chinese slowdown.

Lobster is traded in United States dollars and Prendergast said the high NZ dollar was another factor affecting returns.

- Otago Daily Times