SFM News

Rodger Corser and Vince Colosimo, hosts of the 2009 Seafood Excellence Awards.

Sydney Fish Market Hosts Seafood's Night of Nights

On Saturday, 14 March 2009, Sydney Fish Market (SFM) hosted the Seafood Excellence Awards at Star City Grand Ballroom to highlight the outstanding achievements in Australia’s world class seafood industry.

With fourteen award categories, no aspect of the state’s vibrant seafood trade went unnoticed, with awards ranging from industry judged categories including Environmental Excellence, Seafood Business Awards and Best Seafood Restaurant, to the People’s Choice Awards for Best Fish and Chips (Sydney and regional).

The Guest of Honour for the evening, The Hon. Tony Burke, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry congratulated all the finalists and winners during his keynote speech, and said it was a testament to the consistently high quality of the Australian Seafood Industry.

"The best dishes start with the best ingredients and you can't go past Australian seafood for high quality and great taste," Mr. Burke said.

Special guest celebrity hosts, Vince Colosimo and Rodger Corser, a 5-star menu created by SMH 2008 Chef of the Year Sean Connolly and world class live entertainment headlined by Deni Hines kept the who’s who of the Australian seafood and hospitality industries celebrating into the night.

One of the key awards for the evening, the prestigious Star Of The Sea, was awarded to Mr Graeme Byrnes. The award recognises an individual in the Australian seafood industry who is considered an ambassador and who has made a significant contribution to the development of the industry.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Byrnes spoke of his appreciation for the support SFM continues to provide all sectors of the Australian seafood industry. He also spoke of the strong backing he has received over many years from his wife, extended family and industry members and his confidence in the industry’s future with a program of restructure and reform.

Recognised for their contribution to the sustainability of the industry, G.G. & M Howard were awarded the Excellence in Environmental Practice award.  Mary Howard accepted the award and inspired the audience with her strong impassioned speech about the importance of catchment management.

Top restaurant honours went to Yoshii Restaurant (Best Seafood Restaurant – Sydney) and Fin’s Seafood Restaurant and Bar (Best Seafood Restaurant – Regional). Ocean Foods was named as the Best Fish and Chips in Sydney while Bub’s Fish and Chips in Nelson Bay held on to win Best Fish and Chips – Regional.

A highlight of the evening was the announcement of apprentice Annie Watt from Universal as the Inspired By Seafood Award winner. Inspired By Seafood offered a unique and exciting opportunity challenging apprentice chefs from all over NSW to create a new recipe using Yellowtail Kingfish. In February finalists participated in a Seafood Showdown at Sydney Seafood School where they had the opportunity to create their own seafood masterpiece for judges Sean Connolly (Astral Restaurant), Roberta Muir (Manager, Sydney Seafood School) and Valli Little (Food Editor, Delicious Magazine).

The great tasting high quality Australian seafood that the Minister spoke of was well and truly on display when 2008 Good Food Guide Chef of the Year Sean Connolly of Astral Restaurant created a scrumptious culinary experience for the night. Sean was GQ Chef of the Year 2008 and ‘Chef of the Year’ at the 2006 and 2007 Australian Hotels Association Awards for Excellence. Guests were treated to a never seen before, de-constructed Prawn cocktail as a feature entree along with Sashimi of Ocean Trout, Hiramasa Yellowtail Kingfish, Yellowfin Tuna, fresh wasabi leaves and soy and mirin jelly.

SFM would like to extend its thanks to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, NSW Department of Primary Industries and Seafood Experience Australia who provided valuable support for the Aussie Seafood: Brought to You by Our Fishermen campaign. The campaign, which was launched in August of 2008, also included vital funding to celebrate outstanding achievement in our industry at the 2009 Sydney Fish Market Seafood Excellence Awards.   



Category Winner



Excellence in Environmental Practice G.G & M Howard Bribie Marine Fisheries

Best Supplier Aquaculture

Kinkawooka Shellfish Sundown Fish Farm
Clem Jones Qld Prawn Farm

Best Supplier NSW

Coffs Harbour Fishermen's Co-operative Ltd Commercial Fishermen
Co-operative Ltd
Best Supplier Interstate or Overseas OPC Fish and Lobster, New Zealand Good Fortune Bay Fisheries Ltd
Abacus Fisheries
Inspired By Seafood Annie Watt, Universal Restaurant

Kevin Lin, Garfish
Jamie Blows, Rocksalt Newcastle

Best Seafood Retailer – Suburban and Regional Costi's @ Westpoint Pty Ltd

Penrith Seafoods at Wetherill Park

Best Seafood Retailer – Sydney Fish Market De Costi Seafoods, Sydney Fish Market Christie's Seafood Pty Ltd
Best Fish and Chips – Regional Bub's Fish and Chips, Nelson Bay


Best Fish and Chips – Sydney Ocean Foods, Drummoyne N/A
Best Seafood Restaurant  – Regional Fins Seafood Restaurant and Bar, Byron Bay

Ocean Restaurant,
The Entrance

Best Seafood Restaurant  – Sydney Yoshii Restaurant Finefish, Neutral Bay
Seafood Promotion Award Kinkawooka Shellfish

Peter Evans
De Costi Seafoods (Holdings) Pty Ltd

Seafood Business Award De Costi Seafoods (Holdings) Pty Ltd Commercial Fishermen's
Co-operative Ltd
JD's Seafood Export Contractors
Star of The Sea Mr Graeme Byrnes N/A






'Star of the Sea' Graeme Byrnes with Sydney Fish Market Managing Director Grahame Turk.

Seafood Superstar Breaming With Pride

The prestigious ‘Star of the Sea’ award celebrates a leader who is responsible for significant industry development. So it was a pleasure for many and a surprise to no one when Graeme Byrnes was honoured with this award at Sydney Fish Market’s glittering 2009 Seafood Excellence Awards, held at Star City’s Grand Ballroom on March 14. 

Few people embody the Australian seafood industry like Graeme Byrnes. Originally from Wollongong and now residing in Forster on the NSW north coast, Graeme hails from a proud fishing family, who in 2009 celebrated 100 years and four generations of professional fishing in this State.

Graeme’s list of achievements stretch as far as the NSW coastline. Commencing with his position as Vice Chairman of his local branch of the NSW Association of Professional Fishermen in 1983, to his present appointment as Deputy Chair of the NSW Seafood Industry Advisory Council. This latest role has seen him chairing the Structural Adjustment working group as well as participating in various other forums and providing advice to the Department of Primary Industries and Government on a wide range of issues.

Speak to those respected in the industry and they will tell you Graeme is a rare individual with a quiet determination. Perhaps his greatest gift to the industry so far has been the integral leadership role he assumed during the challenging period 1995 – 2003. As part of a team of key industry leaders, a balanced approach to Government was presented resulting in the withdrawal of proposed legislation that would have granted authority to ‘sunset’ most commercial fishing in NSW without any obligation for compensation.

That Graeme is viewed as a point of reference for the Australian seafood industry and its participants is a credit to the man, said Anthony Hurst from Fisheries Victoria.

“Graeme has earned the respect of his peers in industry, other fisheries sectors and Government”, said Anthony in a letter of support to judges.

“People turn to him for guidance or to ‘chew the fat’ on an issue because he is knowledgeable, thoughtful and respects the views of others”.  

These views were supported recently in State Parliament when the NSW Minister for Primary Industries, The Hon. Ian Macdonald said “Mr Byrnes is a highly respected and admired leader of the industry and rightly deserves such prestigious recognition. His contributions and insights are highly valued.”

While Graeme’s willingness to represent the industry at multiple levels is an insight into his selflessness, he is foremost a family man. His most ardent supporters are those closest to him, including his devoted wife Lorraine, daughter Annie and son James, his brother and business partner Phillip, and his proud parents Alan and Betty.

When accepting his award, Graeme spoke of the strong backing he has received over many years from his wife, extended family and industry members. He also noted his confidence in the industry’s future and spoke of participants need to work together for positive change.

"If I had advice to pass on to anyone in the seafood industry seeking to improve their industry's future prospects it would be this - be concise in your message, be consistent in its delivery and get out in the world, talk to people, and spread that message - don't just build networks, build friendships - they are far more meaningful and enduring."

Whilst maintaining his independence, Graeme’s consultation has helped to ensure that Government have dealt with difficult decisions in a way that provided commercial fishers with a range of choices, including advice associated with structural adjustment, marine parks, cross sectoral decisions, issues in and around Port Jackson and new fishing rules.

It is this hard work, passion and leadership that define Graeme Byrnes and his dedication to the industry and career that he loves.






Cleanseas Tuna's Yasmin Stehr with Andrew Puglisi, owner of Kinkawooka Shellfish


Seafood Industry Salutes Kinkawooka Shellfish

Smiles as wide as the divide between Sydney and Port Lincoln could be seen on the faces of Andrew Puglisi and his team when the accolades were handed out at the 2009 Seafood Excellence Awards on Saturday, March 14.  

Kinkawooka Shellfish, a fifth generation integrated shellfish farming, harvesting and processing operation, is owned and operated by Bob Puglisi and his son Andrew. With a rich fishing heritage which has its roots in Southern Italy, the Puglisi family are pioneers of the Spencer Gulf Southern Prawn fishery.

Specialising in the farming of Southern Bluefin Tuna since 1994, the company branched out into Mussel farming and harvesting in 2003 with spectacular results. They have since built an enviable reputation as the largest processor and producer of Mussels in Australia, producing 800 tonnes of the product in the past year. 

The Port Lincoln based company scooped two awards during the Seafood Industry’s night of nights, for Best Aquaculture Supplier and Seafood Promotion.

Competitors for the Seafood Promotion Award had to show how they had identified new, innovative and clever ways to entice the consumer to eat more seafood. From the challenge of making seafood sexy, to great customer service and presentation of the catch.

This Award was open to any individual, company, organisation, promotion, activity or event that had made a substantial positive contribution towards improving the public profile of Australian seafood and the Australian seafood industry in NSW.

Kinkawooka Shellfish took out the award on the strength of a particularly effective promotion launched late last year.  The ‘Double Blue Promotion’ teamed their pot-ready Blue Mussels with Blue Tongue Breweries Premium Lager to create a ‘meal deal’ offer for the foodservice and retail sectors.

Supported by a quirky point of sale merchandising campaign, the promotion was underpinned by a robust distribution chain. Judges felt that Kinkawooka was driving change within the seafood industry and were impressed by the incentive offered to consumers which saw the winner flown to South Australia for a personal tour of the Port Lincoln operation.

In the category of Best Supplier Aquaculture, nominees from around Australia were judged to determine who produces the most popular and highest quality aquaculture product. Applicants were judged on the quality, consistency, branding and customer service for their product sold through Sydney Fish Market.

Judges noted that Kinkawooka quite simply “ticked every box”, and noted their high quality standard, consistent supply to SFM’s Buyers, excellent branding and fabulous customer service.

In accepting his awards, Andrew Puglisi thanked his team in Port Lincoln, as well as Sydney based marketing consultants Fisheads Seafood Strategy.  

“I’m really proud to have been awarded this recognition for our work. My entire team has pushed every boundary in the development of our mussel farming, processing and marketing” he said. 

“This award is a huge honour for our company.”

When asked about his views on the importance of effective marketing in the seafood industry, Andrew had a simple message.

“If our industry wants to move forward as a serious competitor in the retail environment, a greater emphasis needs to be placed on marketing” he said.

“Our ultimate goal should be to grow the category and highlight the importance of wild-caught and aquaculture seafood through clever and effective promotion.”

You won’t find Andrew and his team at Kinkawooka Shellfish resting on their laurels after their awards success. The Company were straight back to work developing a suite of value-added seafood retail products which Andrew hopes will not only be a hit for his organisation, but act as an aspirational product range which the rest of the industry will embrace and emulate.    

Kinkawooka Shellfish’s new range will include products which utilise Mussels, Prawns, Oysters and Clams.

For further information on Kinkawooka Shellfish, visit www.kinkawooka.com.au.





Mary and Ricky Howard

Excellence in Environmental Practice

From prawn trawler to a Director with the Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority, Mary Howard has achieved a great deal in her 25 years in the Australian seafood industry. Recently Mary reached new heights by winning the Sydney Fish Market Seafood Excellence Award for Excellence in Environmental Practice.

Awarded for outstanding achievement by individuals or organisations that promote the ecological sustainability of the seafood industry, this prestigious award was given to G.G & M Howard as a result of sustained action towards improving the waterways and their ability to support natural fish populations.

“Winning the 2009 Seafood Excellence Environment Award is very precious to me. It also brings recognition to women in the industry”, Mary said.

“My commercial fishing family fear for the future of wild harvest fishing. For many years our aim has been to evaluate and communicate the overall ecosystem based environmental impacts that daily affect the productivity of the produce we are trying to harvest for the community. This award recognises these achievements.”

Using her knowledge gained from working on trawlers, conversing with commercial fishermen, sitting on various Boards, and through her advanced education in aquaculture, Mary has successfully completed a paper titled Aquatic Ecosystem Productivity Relies on Water Managers and Sustainable Cities. In addition, she has produced an educational poster which has been distributed to guests of the Enviro 08 Conference, Country Women’s Association, members of Sydney Water and has been displayed in various exhibition halls and distributed to persons of interest around Australia.

Mary’s ‘green fingers’ have helped push the buttons of water managers and Government agencies, educating them about the worrying issues surrounding the external impacts to the ecological sustainability and productivity of estuaries and the implications of these for the commercial fishing industry. Mary is passionate about ensuring that policy makers recognise the importance of considering marine life, particularly the productivity of fish species, when drawing together plans for the future in areas of water and waste management.

Mary Howard is a proud partner in two prawn trawlers which harvest School Prawn in the Hawkesbury River. She was a member of the Hawkesbury Nepean River Management Forum, representing commercial fishers for both the Hawkesbury and Shoalhaven Rivers. She is a Director with the Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority, a member of the CRC Rural Irrigation Partners Steering Committee as a technical adviser and is a NSW Director for Women’s Industry Network Seafood Community.

The Excellence in Environmental Practice award spotlights the industry by creating awareness of the seafood industry’s environmental responsibility and applauds the contributions of those organisation or individuals making a difference. Well done Mary!




Reno Costi, owner of Costi's @ Westpoint

See Reno For The Ultimate in Suburban Seafood Retailing

For the past 4 years the people of Blacktown and its surrounding suburbs have been privy to one of the best kept secrets in Sydney’s fresh food obsessed society. But now, after Sydney Fish Market’s Seafood Excellence Awards on Saturday, March 14, the secret is out... and Western Suburbs residents will have to share Costi’s @ Westpoint with the rest of Sydney.

Established by Reno Costi and his wife Andrea four years ago, Costi’s @ Westpoint received the Best Seafood Retailer (Suburban and Regional) award at seafood’s night of nights.

Reno, the son of Tas Costi and a member of Australia’s most famous fishing family, has grown up in the seafood business and is better placed than most to comment on the best way to display and sell fresh seafood. But recognition and success is something that Reno is having to get used to. In the past twelve months, his shop has taken out the Regional, State and National Small Business Award for Best Fresh Food Retailer. It is his high standards, dedication to quality produce and in-depth focus on customer service that has him struggling to find available space in his store to display his many awards.

“If it is something you wouldn’t eat yourself, don’t sell it” Reno says firmly. “It’s about customer service and quality of product”.

Tas Costi, along with most of his family including his brother Jack (owner of Claudio’s Quality Seafoods) and nephew George Costi (De Costi Seafood Holdings Pty Ltd) immigrated to Australia from Cyprus in 1951. The brothers soon opened their first seafood venture, a retail outlet in Maroubra in Sydney’s East, which proved to be the breeding ground for the family’s unquestionable success in the industry.

At the age of 16 and straight out of school, Reno opened his own retail outlet in Fairfield in partnership with his Dad and brother and went about learning his trade for the next 16 years. It was then, at the age of 32, Reno opened Costi’s @ Westpoint.

“We initially moved into a temporary store at the Westpoint Shopping Centre, but after 9 months moved into our permanent premises on the other side of the complex”, Reno said.

“Our store is characterised by its size… it’s very large for a seafood retail outlet in a complex such as this one. It’s one of the best lit seafood retail stores around, which really highlights the freshness and quality of the product”.

“It is a very modern fit out, with an emphasis on exemplary customer service and quality seafood product”.

It is this emphasis on customer service which sets Costi’s @ Westpoint apart. Employees of the store are trained in species education, handling and are provided with information they can pass onto customers on preparation of seafood recipes. This customer focus has been part of what Reno describes as a strategy of constant improvement and adaptation. The store’s strict adherence to the Approved Fish Names Standard is evidence of this focus.

When pressed on the future of seafood retailing in Australia, Reno speaks like a man who has considered the question many times over.

“I think the industry is definitely moving towards value-added product” he says. “Lots of retailers are also increasing their in-store capabilities in terms of cooking takeaway seafood meals for their customers”.

“At Costi’s @ Westpoint, things are a little bit different. Our customers demand fresh, quality seafood, and there is an emphasis on whole fish that reflects the demographic and ethnicity of our clientele. Our customers seem to be well versed in preparing seafood from scratch”.

This comment is supported by the product range that Reno carries in store. Approximately 35% of his product is represented in whole fish, 40% in fillets, and 20 – 25% of what he sells is crustacea, such as prawns, as well as packaged and frozen product.

When asked about his thoughts on taking out the Best Seafood Retailer (Suburban and Regional) award, Reno is characteristically modest. He expresses excitement and pride, but also states that part of him is worried that he will offend any of the other nominees, some of them family members, who run fantastic seafood retail outlets.

“The past 12 months have proven to be the most successful for us to date”, Reno says.

“We hope to continue to set the standard for seafood retailing in the years to come, and hopefully pick up some more awards along the way”.

Costi’s @ Westpoint is located at Shop 1075, Westpoint Shopping Centre, 17 Patrick Street, Blacktown.




Sydney Fish Market Pty Ltd, Locked Bag 247, Bank Street PYRMONT NSW 2009

T: 61 2 9004 1100 | F: 61 2 9004 1177 | E: publicrelations@sydneyfishmarket.com.au