Tips for selecting fresh seafood

As our seafood is caught and sold directly by us, we guarantee its freshness.  That said, we like our customers to be well informed when it comes to assessing seafood for its quality. Here are our tips for selecting fresh seafood.

Whole Fish

A fresh fish will have bright, clear, shiny, full eyes that are often protruding.  As a fish loses freshness, the eyes become cloudy and sunken.  Therefore, if the eyes look good, you can bet with confidence that the fish is fresh and healthy.

The tail and dorsal fins of the fish should be healthy-looking, wet, and intact. A fish that’s been mishandled will have torn or ragged fins, while an older fish’s fins will be dry and brittle.

The fish should also feel cold, wet, and slippery, but not sticky. When pressed, it should spring back to its natural shape, just like if you were to press on your own flesh.

The gills should be bright red or pink. Avoid fish with dull-coloured gills that are grey, brown, or green. Fresh fish should be free of loose or sloughing slime.  Skin should still have a bright, shiny appearance.


Fish Fillets

With an almost translucent flesh, fresh fillets should also be firm, elastic to the touch and moist.  Should the fillet have browning at the edges, bruising or reddening of the flesh (from the retention of blood), it will indicate the fillet is not of the finest quality.

fish fillet


Fresh scallops have a firm texture and a typically sweet odour. A sour or iodine smell indicates a decline in quality. Sea scallops are generally creamy white, although they may show some normal light orange or pink colour.


Live crabs and lobsters

Live crabs and lobsters will not be very active if they have been refrigerated, but they should move at least a little.  Ideally, the lobster tail will curl tightly underneath the body when picked up.  Expect a bright red colour for cooked lobsters or crabs in the shell.  Lobster meat will be pure white with red tints, while crab meat is white with red or brown tints, depending on the species or the section of the body it was picked from.



Oysters may be sold live, cooked, or fresh-shucked.  Live oyster shells should be moist, tightly closed and the bottom shell, well cupped (a sign that the oyster itself should be well formed and plump).   Shucked oyster meat should be plump and covered with their own liquor, which should be clear or slightly milky and free of shell or grit. There should also be no strong smell.


Prawn shells should be translucent with a pinkish or greyish green tint, depending on the variety.  There should be no black edges or spots.  Prawn meat should be firm, and white with pink tints, and have a mild smell.

prawn photo

We’re here to help!

And if you are still unsure, our friendly staff is always on hand to assist with your selection.  Pop down to Gem Pier Seafood barge and speak to Kelli, Britt, Hannah, Will and Dayna.

And finally, Bon Appetit!

fish and chips

Christmas Rush Throws Gem Pier Seafood Family Olver-Board

After taking over the unique seafood barge business one month ago, the Olver family have thrown themselves into the deep end for a busy Christmas trading period as the new owners of Gem Pier Seafood in Williamstown.

Anthony and Kelli are the husband and wife team behind the freshest seafood in Williamstown, together with their four children, who all lend a hand on deck with Will shucking the oysters and Hannah looking after marketing and social media.

“The kids are involved in everything. We wanted to give them first hand experience on how to run their own business and they love it,” said Kelli.

Kelli Olver

The Olvers are a little different to most fish sellers because they own and fish from their own boats that are responsible for the majority of what they sell, ensuring they stay in complete control of the quality of seafood throughout the entire process.

Anthony and Kelli took over the business from mussel farmers and they still continue to use the previous owner’s mussels, which in addition to the prawns, oysters, scallops, crabs, crayfish, snapper, flathead and salmon, keeps customers coming back for more.

If you need to snag yourself some last minute seafood for Christmas, visit the Olver family on board their barge at Gem Pier in Williamstown. Gem Pier Seafood are open on Saturday 9.00am – 3.00pm and Sunday 8.30am – 11.30am.

Republished here from the story that appeared in Willy & Hobby.

Meet our Fleet!

We’re a little different to most fish sellers because we own and fish from our own boats that are responsible for the majority of what we sell.   This means we are in complete control of the quality of seafood throughout the entire process.  When we say we guarantee freshness, we mean it!

Let us introduce you to our fleet.

Amayos is 19 metres long, has an aft wheel house and is of traditional design, and steel construction.  Skippered by Anthony (owner and family Head Honcho) with his deck mate, Lorik, this vessel works mostly on the continental shelf, south of Victoria and on the west coast of Tasmania.


Amayos catches long lined gummy shark, school shark, snapper, flathead, latchet, ocean perch and knife jaw. This fish is always premium quality because it’s hook caught and comes aboard one at a time – another way we differ from many other operators – and is immediately cleaned and put in an ice slurry. This vessel also catches giant crab and crayfish.


Pegass is skippered by Anthony’s brother, John and his crew, Dan and Pete.  This vessel is engaged in shark fishing full time, mostly in the Bass Strait area around King Island.

Boat 2

Western Light is skippered by Anthony’s father, Kit and his crew Lindsey and George.  The vessel is focussed on giant crab fishing and cray fishing on the west coast of Tasmania.

See…..we told you it was a family affair!

We catch it this morning, for your table tonight.