As icy Antarctic winds blow the world’s cleanest air overhead, below in the cold, clear waters of the Southern Ocean, lies the most premium quality abalone, Pāua, and sea urchin available. The aquatic wilderness that surrounds the remote islands of Tasmania and New Zealand is some of the most fiercely protected in the world. This protection keeps it safe from pollution, aquatic diseases, and over-fishing. Carefully selected and sustainably hand-harvested, our seafood is a wild taste experience like no other.
Black Lip Abalone
Black Lip Abalone is prized over all others and can be found in the cooler, southern waters of Tasmania at the world’s edge. It is one of the most highly valued fisheries in the world.
Green Lip Abalone
Greenlip Abalone is found living on deep offshore reefs in the more temperate waters off northern Tasmania. It is known for its large size and delicate flavour and texture.
The Maori people revere Pāua as taonga or ‘treasure’. Velvet black on the outside from its high melanin content and pure white inside, the Pāua is truly unique and has a rich but delicate flavour all of its own. So precious are Pāua that only free diving is permitted by law as a catch method. Our specialist free-divers brave the chilly waters of the Pacific Ocean and choose only the best Pāua to hand-harvest.
High in omega three, rich in vitamins C and A, and low in calories, urchin roe has many health benefits and is considered an aphrodisiac. Fresh, it is uniquely delicate and sweet. True South Seafood has worked with Japanese specialists to teach local staff how to select and pack our product with passionate care to meet the highest of standards. We specialise in two species of Sea Urchins, the short spine and the long spine. Both are much coveted and used in countless cuisines around the world.
Abalone and Pāua Shell
Our Pāua shells (pictured) are highly regarded for their striking blue, green and purple iridescence. Once cleaned and polished, they can be transformed into art, fashion accessories and jewellery. Abalone shells are sold mainly to overseas markets where they can be used for several applications, including traditional Chinese medicine.
Our divers are an exceptionally tough breed and year round they brave the icy, unpredictable waters of the Great Southern Ocean. From small boats, they employ free-diving and surface supplied air or ‘hookah’ to carefully select and harvest only the best abalone, Pāua, and urchins. Their lifetimes of experience and knowledge often passed from generation to generation ensures deep respect for their environment and for the produce they skilfully bring from seafloor to shore.
Our People, Our Workplace Culture
As a company, the one thing that truly defines us is care. We care for each other, we care about our customers, we care for the environment, and we care about our natural produce. True South proudly employs a rich, culturally diverse and gender balanced workforce and we believe that this diversity is one of our biggest strengths. Our people come from across the world, bringing with them a broad range of skills and valued perspectives.
Processing and Packing
In Tasmania and New Zealand, our factories contain large seawater holding tanks where all abalone and Pāua are held for a minimum of 5 days. This ensures that the fish are healthy and not stressed before beginning their transportation overseas so that on arrival they are still of the highest quality. Our urchin processing teams have benefitted from ongoing training with master technicians from Japan and are the best at their craft. Delicate, golden roe is extracted from the spikey shell and carefully cleaned and processed using our unique method.
Indigenous Tasmanian and New Zealanders have been hand-harvesting wild shellfish for millenia and centuries.
In Australia meanwhile, Ralph’s Tasmanian Seafood, named after co-founder and prominent Tasmanian businessman Ralph Caccavo, first began exporting live abalone to the world in 1996. He pioneered the pathway to becoming one of the world’s largest supplier to the world of live abalone caught in the wild.
In 2012, Pauco was formed merging Kabco, PCL and Abco to become the premier supplier of New Zealand canned Pāua.
Today, True South Seafood is the leading supplier of premium Tasmanian and New Zealand wild caught live abalone and Pāua, as well as the largest exporter of sea urchin roe from Tasmania.
But in more modern times, it was the grandfather of the New Zealand Pāua industry Jack Chung who founded PCL (Pacific Canaries Ltd) in 1994. In doing so he formed the first bridge to the Hong Kong and Chinese markets.
By 2007 in New Zealand, Kabco (Kaikoura Abalone Company) was established by Geoff Pacey and a number of key Pāua divers to become that country’s leading exporter to Asia.
Then in 2017, PauaCo New Zealand purchased Ralph’s Tasmanian Seafood and merged the name to become RTSPauaCo, before rebranding as True South Seafood in 2020.
About Us Slider
Surrounded by the pristine Southern Ocean, True South Seafood operates out of two main locations: in the south of Hobart, Tasmania and Christchurch, New Zealand.
We are committed to reducing non-biodegradable packing materials, and we have heavily invested in renewable energy and state of the art refrigerated transport for the animals in our care. We are continuously testing new value-added product lines to reduce waste of our live resource and targeting zero animal waste by 2025.