Market History

Pre-1945

The marketing of fish in New South Wales was conducted by licensed fish agents operating out of Haymarket fish market, or by unlicensed operators elsewhere in the state. 

The New South Wales government amended the Fisheries and Oyster Farms Act to effectively cancel all licenses held by Sydney fish agents and transferred the marketing of fish in New South Wales to the Chief Secretary’s Department.  The Chief Secretary’s Department established a regulated market system and controlled the centralised market in Sydney until 1994. 

1964

The marketing of fish in New South Wales outside Sydney was conducted through a number of fishermen’s cooperatives operating along the coastal areas of NSW.  1964 saw the formation of the Fish Marketing Authority.  The Fish Marketing Authority was a state-run body responsible for the conduct and management of Sydney Fish Market that was previously maintained by the Chief Secretary’s Department.

1966

Sydney Fish Market was built as a wholesale fish market, operated by the Fish Marketing Authority. 

Sydney Fish Market moved from the Haymarket area of Sydney to its current location at Blackwattle Bay, Pyrmont. Fish were sold using the traditional ‘voice’ auction system. This system saw buyers assemble outside the sales bay fence, where inside an assistant would hold up samples of fish from each box for buyers to bid until the highest price was reached.

1989

Sydney Fish Market introduced a computerised Dutch auction in October 1989, dramatically evolving and increasing the efficiencies of the way fish was sold. 

Sydney Fish Market established Sydney Seafood School. The School now attracts 12,000 participants a year and hosts an enviable list of Australia’s finest guest chefs.

1994

The New South Wales Government privatised the marketing of seafood and Sydney Fish Market Pty Ltd was formed on 28 October.  The NSW State government deregulated fish marketing over a two-stage, five-year period, as legislated monopoly was not acceptable under private ownership. 

1997

The first stage of deregulation came in November 1997 when fishermen’s cooperatives were permitted to sell directly to Sydney buyers.  Total deregulation followed in November 1999, when New South Wales catchers could supply direct to any buyer in possession of a Fish Receiver’s Permit.  Sydney Fish Market no longer held a monopoly over the sale of seafood into the Sydney region.

2001

Sydney Fish Market launched its innovative new online-based seafood trading system, SFMlive that operates in addition to the Dutch auction.  SFMlive provides traders with advanced facilities for direct online seafood sales including wild harvest, aquaculture and frozen products, taking fish trading to a new level.

2004

State-of-the-art digital video projectors were installed to enhance the auction clocks. These large screens face toward around 150 to 200 buyers each day.