Apollo Bay Seafood Festival

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Apollo Bay Seafood Festival

The Apollo Bay Seafood Festival will move into its fourth official year of operation next month as the event looks to grow more and more each year. I spoke with Merri Hagan about the growing popularity of the event.
“The Apollo Bay Seafood Festival was launched in 2011 with the aim of establishing Apollo Bay as a seafood destination and showcasing the wide range of quality Otway produce available,” she says. “Since then, it has become a favourite on the summer events calendar, promising a great day out for the whole family. In 2014 the Festival attracted over 4500 attendees, and this year we are hoping to exceed that number.”
The coastal town will come to life with all things seafood. There will also be other local produce to try, and the Otway region is also well known for its beers and wines, which will also be available for trial and purchase.
“The Apollo Bay Seafood Festival promises a fun-filled day of cooking demonstrations from local and celebrity chefs, live entertainment, market stalls, wine, beer and, of course, seafood in abundance! On the menu you can expect fresh crayfish, abalone, calamari, mussels, flake, scallops, snapper, blueberries, raspberries, shitake mushrooms, olives, wines, beers, truffles, cheeses, vegetables meats – all locally sourced.”
The festival has now become an important event on the Great Ocean Road annual calendar and is a refreshing reminder of just how lucky we are to have such fantastic quality produce at our doorstep.
“I think that the Apollo Bay Seafood Festival reinforces and celebrates the importance of understanding where your food comes from and seeing first-hand the bounty that this beautiful coast provides. [Also] experiencing a range of ways it can be prepared by a selection of talented chefs and then savouring the delicious, fresh flavours!” she says.
Seafood remains an important industry to the region around Apollo Bay and this festival is the opportunity to put its riches on display. I also spoke with Trish Goodlet, who discussed how vital the fisheries trade is to the region.
“Although only a small fleet of shark and crayfish fishermen remain, its history dates back to 1847 when the Henty Brothers first established a Whaling Station. The local fishing industry has continued to operate over the years with catches of southern rock lobster, barracouta, shark and squid and today is one of only two working harbours remaining on the Great Ocean Road. These boats, with ‘wet wells’ to allow live export, catch up to 100 tonnes per annum, worth approximately AU$13 million.
“The Apollo Bay Fisherman’s Co-operative, one of five established in the 1950s, is the only one still active and acts as an integral part of the Victorian fishing industry,” she explains.
“The working harbour remains very much the central focus of the Apollo Bay township and visitor experience, creating a scenic backdrop for the vibrant coastal town. Although it has only a small population of approximately 1500 permanent residents, there are 22 restaurants and cafés in the centre of the town, many of which serve local seafood as a signature dish.”
The Apollo Bay Seafood Festival is held at Apollo Bay Foreshore on Saturday, February 21.