A while ago, on a trip down the Great Ocean Road, I had moaned about the lack of fresh seafood along the seaside towns. Well it seems that I was onto something. An article in The Age has discussed about the amount of "fresh" seafood that are available at a number of seaside towns in Victoria. A lot of the claims of "fresh" seafood caught and cooked that day are just utterly misleading. When questioned further, the majority of the seafood are from elsewhere, and you're lucky if they're even from Victoria. Due to numerous reasons (restrictions on fishing, demand, cost etc), seafood is no longer caught and sold locally as in the past.
It's a shame that you can no longer get freshly caught seafood from the town that is selling them. I remember eating seafood that were still alive before cooking in seaside towns in Hong Kong and it was amazing. It's just the way things are in Australia I guess. Those towns that have built their reputations around serving fresh seafood still continue to use that reputation, even though it's no longer valid. Fish that is caught and "frozen fresh" is just labelled at "fresh". What seafood though isn't frozen fresh? No one waits till the seafood goes off before freezing them, surely? I guess if the fish is caught and then is dead by the time it gets to the shore and then frozen, it's not as fresh as freezing them on the boat. But all of this is still not as fresh as fish that has never been frozen. To then advertise a product as first being local, and then being fresh should be false advertising and punishable with a fine I think.
To enjoy fresh seafood nowadays, I think you can forget the fantasy of enjoying them at seaside towns. If they are buying them at Footscray market, you might as well cut out the middle man and buy them yourself. I think there's a better chance that the seafood served at top restaurants where you pay more for them, will be of better quality than that at seaside towns.