Petzer’s pure passion for the fish industry

2017-07-04 13:45
Shama Petzer of Nelson’s Fisheries at the Debi Place Market in Northdale.

Shama Petzer of Nelson’s Fisheries at the Debi Place Market in Northdale. (Ian Carbutt)

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Keeping her late husband’s legacy alive, Shama Petzer (52) has become a well-known face in the Debi Place Market in Northdale for her buzzing fresh fish and seafood stall.

Petzer owns Nelson’s Fisheries and has had her stall in the well-known market for 26 years.

Not only known for her affordable prices and vast knowledge on all things seafood, Petzer’s witty humour and booming voice keeps the customers coming back.

“My husband Nelson was a fisherman and he worked for I&J back then. We started selling prawns at first and now we stock all things seafood and whatever the catch of the day is.

“Pietermaritzburg is my home and selling here at the market is one of the greatest joys because it holds so much culture. Great-grandparents used to shop here and I am one of those traders that helped build this market.

“The fish industry is in our blood and has been our livelihood. My son Johnathan is a chef at Ocean Basket in Johannesburg.”

Petzer said her daughter Mandy is an industrial psychologist in Cape Town.

She said running a seafood stall is one of the “most hectic” jobs as every day starts early with her waiting for the fishermen to arrive with their catch.

“Once the fish arrive, we have to start preparing it to be sold. That means it must be cleaned, cut and packaged.

“I work 24/7 and I am quite happy being in the fish business. It is my passion. I love it when the busy days arrive because I love seeing the public support local.”

Petzer said the winter days are better in the market because the seafood stays fresher for longer, while summer days are stressful for her.

“I also have to make sure that the fish is kept cool and sometimes I keep the bought fish in my freezers for the customers to continue shopping and collect it on their way out.

“I am a people’s person and I love interacting with all my loving customers. This has been my livelihood and daily bread for years. This is my husband’s legacy and I want to continue it.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  pmb people

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