The producers: Atssu Divers
Author: Maya Kerthyasa
Photography: Andrew Finlayson
2:17PM, Sep 3, 2013
Hand-dived abalone, turban shell and sea urchin.
WHO Ryan Morris is a second-generation abalone diver based in Sydney. After many years supplying a processor, which sold his products overseas, he decided to offer them directly to local restaurants.
HOW While abalone is Morris's key line, he also dives for turban shells and sea urchins (Attsu being an acronym of abalone, turban shell and sea urchin). He dives solo along the NSW south coast between Ulladulla and Eden, prising his catch off the sea floor with a knife and sending it to the surface in parachute bags. The shells are then cleaned and put into crates that stay submerged in the water until the end of the day's dive, then transported to Morris's tanks in Sydney. Sea urchins are a different story; they don't keep well in tanks, which means they need to be delivered the day they are caught. "It's a lot of running around," says Morris, "but the restaurants get a premium product out of it."
WHY By the time most abalone reaches a Sydney restaurant, it has travelled interstate through a range of processors. By buying abalone and sea urchins from Attsu, restaurants are guaranteed the freshest local product.
WHERE Look out for Morris's abalone and sea urchins on menus at Rockpool, MoVida Sydney and Marque, among others.