One of the locals at the United Freshwater Crayfish Farm in Koah.



Kula Park Barramundi Farm in the Atherton Tablelands.

Day 1 on the Road - SFM Visits the Far North

Written by Louise Nock, Marketing and Communications Manager, Sydney Fish Market


I have always considered myself the 'outdoorsy' type, not afraid to get a bit of dirt under my nails and far from the typical city-slicker. This however, was challenged on my latest adventure up to far north Queensland. The purpose of this trip was to visit some of the Aquaculture farms that supply Sydney Fish Market (SFM) with product, as well as present the 'Aussie Seafood' campaign at the Prawn and Barramundi conference in Townsville.  My travelling partners were Grahame Turk, Managing Director and Gus Dannoun, Supply Manager - who were both equally excited about visiting our clients in sunny Queensland.


The first flag on the map was a Barramundi Farm, in the Atherton Tablelands at Mt Molloy, called Kula Park. It was my first ever experience on a Barramundi Farm and I was surprised at the remote location.


The owners, Tamar and Ricky Shapiro, who incidentally were celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary (congratulations!), kindly greeted and escorted us around the beautiful farm showing us their 12 ponds which were quite fascinating to see up close. Kula Park has been supplying barramundi to SFM for over 2 ½ years. The successful family business began in 2003.


After the tour of the Aquaculture facilities, the farmhand, known affectionately as Gob, took me to see his prize possession, a calf that he rescued from the side of the road. This was a highlight of my trip and was also the point where I realised that livestock were not my forte. I found myself in a paddock surrounded by a herd of seemingly angry cattle. After finding my expression of true terror rather amusing, Gob became my sensei, teaching me the best way to deal with these animals that were slowly but surely intruding upon my personal space. He explained that the only way to show these bright-eyed animals who was boss was to stand your ground. In the minute that I would have normally questioned how I was going to do that, the animals started to get a bit feisty. So there I was, trying not to move a muscle, making silent apologies to the cattle for being a carnivore, and thanking my lucky stars that I deal in seafood.


The second destination was Sundown Fish Farm, east of Mareeba, where I was blown away by the hospitality and open-armed welcome. To our surprise, the owners had organised a buffet lunch, which involved enough food to feed an army. The feast included prawns, barramundi, lasagne and homemade salami, which definitely didn't help with my bride diet! I was fascinated to learn that not only did they farm barramundi but also had a lychee plantation. Sundown Fish Farm has been supplying SFM for 7 years. It is a family run business and Domenico and wife Elizabeth Barbeari are the owners, with their son, Frank as the manager. Their generosity was unforgettable.  


Back in the car, we drove approximately 15 minutes east, back towards Cairns, to United Freshwater Crayfish Farm in Koah, our last stop for the day. This farm was previously operated by Paul and Barbara Formosa and is now owned by Graham and Zoe Fettes and managed by their son, Luke. To my surprise they were not only farming crayfish but also eels for the Japanese market. This farm was a lot larger than the others, with over 50 ponds protected by nets which shielded the product from keen-eyed birds. We went for a walk around the ponds, where we saw the eels feeding. Luke was also kind enough to allow the Redclaw to pose for the camera.  


After we said our farewells, we got back into the car and drove back to Cairns. Waiting for us was our dinner date, Shawn McAtamney from ISP, another of SFM's key clients, who specialise in seafood distribution and retail in Cairns and Townsville.


After dinner I retired for the night, absolutely exhausted from the day's travelling but most of all, blown away by the hospitality, passion and dedication displayed by our hosts at Kula Park, Sundown Fish Farm, United Freshwater Crayfish and ISP.


A whole-hearted thanks to all our hosts from the team at SFM!


Geoff Blackburn, one of the commercial fishermen featured in the Aussie Seafood - Brought to You by Our Fishermen campaign.



Aussie Seafood campaign marketing collateral.

Aussie Seafood Campaign Hailed A Success


The sun has set on the Aussie Seafood - Brought to You by Our Fishermen campaign funding but the impact that this ground-breaking initiative has made is blinding!


From its launch in August 2008, Aussie Seafood has successfully achieved all its objectives and more, with success stories flowing from all sectors of the campaign. Regarded as a triumph for project partners and for the Australian seafood industry, results of the campaign have been overwhelmingly positive. Countless inquiries have been received from industry, media and the general public, with those exposed to the campaign keen to learn more about Australia's hard-working commercial fishermen.


The campaign has also travelled, with presentations given on the initiative as far and wide as Ireland and Townsville.


An initiative of Sydney Fish Market (SFM), this campaign was proudly supported by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), as well as funding and in-kind support from NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) and Seafood Experience Australia (SEA).


Through development and implementation of the campaign, SFM has helped shine a spotlight on its key suppliers and the fantastic job they do for Australian seafood consumers. For State and Federal governments, the program offered an opportunity to show the commercial fishing industry that government is aware of the issues that this industry faces and that they are committed to ensuring its future. For SEA, the campaign helped reach Australian seafood consumers, raise its industry profile and push for increased industry membership.


The first ever campaign of its kind, Aussie Seafood used an integrated suite of advertising, paid editorial, media coverage, marketing collateral and events. This combination allowed the key messages to be circulated to target markets via a wide spread of mediums, resulting in greater exposure. The campaign was aimed at seafood consumers, NSW commercial fishers, the Australian seafood industry, government and non-government organisations.


Campaign funding ceased on 30 June this year. To date, $11.4 million of media coverage has been attained. This relates to articles generated by SFM promoting campaign events, the industry and general promotion of seafood during the course of this initiative.


There was an extremely strong uptake of Aussie Seafood information brochures, featuring key messages, distributed through seafood retailers and at events. More than 5,000 people attended Get Fresh with Fish cooking demonstrations across the State, with a further 472 attending the 2009 Seafood Excellence Awards. Importantly, SFM have received very positive feedback from both consumers and industry.


To further understand the impact of the Aussie Seafood campaign, SFM conducted an electronic survey of 19,000 consumers listed on its Sydney Seafood School database. The sample size was 550.  


Key results included:


31% of the sample had heard or seen information about the campaign.  This is an excellent achievement given the relatively small budget that SFM had to execute the campaign.

78.1% of respondents believe that the Aussie Seafood campaign was either 'effective' or 'very effective' in communicating that 'commercial fishers are important to the Australian economy'.

71.6% of respondents believe that the Aussie Seafood campaign was either 'effective' or 'very effective' in communicating that 'commercial fishers act in an environmentally responsible way'.

91.3% of respondents believe that the Aussie Seafood campaign was either 'effective' or 'very effective' in communicating that 'commercial fishers produce quality seafood'.


But what will consumers do with all this new found knowledge?

60% stated they were 'extremely likely' to eat more seafood.

53% stated they 'extremely likely' to eat a greater variety of Australian seafood species.

83.2% stated they were either 'likely' or 'extremely likely' to pay more for Australian seafood.



SFM gathered some fantastic feedback from consumers sourced from the campaign and the survey, with a range of great quotes including:


"I feel much happier giving my money to fishing people who I feel like I know and trust"

"The campaign emphasised the importance of supporting Australian sourced seafood and not imported."

"[The campaign] made me more aware of trying other species from Australia and not over eating the most popular seafood."


Industry feedback from the campaign was also encouraging.


Graeme Byrnes, Commercial Fishermen, Commercial Fishermen's Co-operative


"The campaign instilled pride, which we've never had before and recognition of the hard work and great job we do. It personalised Australian fishing by putting a face to the people who supply the fresh fish and provided the public with a link to those who catch the fish they eat".

"My family has been fishing for 100 years this year, and this campaign gives me hope that my kids won't have to work as hard as I have had to, to earn a living."


Grahame Turk, Managing Director, Sydney Fish Market


"This campaign encapsulates everything the industry needs. While the world is bogged down in economic gloom, this campaign has without question lifted industry's morale. It has also had an astounding effect on customers. You only need to attend a Get Fresh with Fish event to hear the positive comments and genuine understanding of the work fishermen do to put fish on their plates. It puts a real smile on my face."


For more information, including interviews with commercial fishermen, species information and a video overview of the campaign, visit or contact Louisa Goodall, PR Assistant on 02 9004 1146 or email



SFM buyers provided valuable feedback during June's Buyers Survey.


Buyers Rate Product Quality Number 1

In June, Sydney Fish Market (SFM) buyers were given an opportunity to have their say on the products and services provided by SFM.


SFM is committed to ensuring that the needs of its buyers are met. The survey therefore, was designed and implemented with the aim of identifying areas within SFM's business operations where the company excels, areas that require further attention/improvement and to further understand its customers and their requirements.


The survey was distributed to over 100 buyers who were present at auction on the morning of Friday, 15 June 2009. Buyers were asked to complete the survey by the end of the morning's auction, with an incentive of 'a chance to win a $150 Coles Myer voucher' offered to all those who answered the survey.

Completed surveys were obtained from 51 respondents on issues ranging from satisfaction with the current range of seafood up for sale, to retail performance of their businesses over the past 12 months and how this had affected their purchasing decisions.


The survey structure involved a combination of 18 closed and open questions, with some interesting and surprising feedback obtained.


Key data to emerge from the survey included feedback on consumer spending within seafood retail outlets. 42% of respondents stated that over the past 12 months the average customer spend within their retail stores had stayed the same, while 20.9% of respondents reported their average customer spend had actually increased. This feedback was surprisingly positive, considering the current economic climate and its effect on consumer spending in some areas of the retail sector.


Another encouraging statistic to come out of the survey related to customer patronage over the past 12 months. 20.9% of respondents stated their average number of customers had increased over the past year, while 53.5% stated the average number of customers had stayed the same. This was again a positive result, with 74.7% of respondents revealing that the economic downturn had not adversely affected the amount of customers served in their retail outlets over the past year.


Buyers provided some very pleasing feedback with respect to SFM's products and services. A hefty 78% of respondents expressed satisfaction with the current range of seafood available on SFM's auction floor. This statistic is an affirmation of SFM's efforts to source and provide the widest range of quality fresh seafood to its buyers.


The survey also revealed the top 5 most important factors for buyers when purchasing seafood from SFM. Buyers rated Product Quality (1), Consistent Product Supply (2), Variety of Seafood on Offer (3), Good Customer Service (4) and Fair Selling Systems (5) as the most important determining factors when making their seafood purchasing decisions.  This information is vital, as it provides a clear guideline to the areas in which SFM must continue to maintain and improve its already high standards in order to satisfy its customers.


Buyers also provided key feedback in response to open survey questions on areas of SFM's operations such as size grading, labelling, temperature control, product presentation and customer service.


SFM now intends to develop a set of recommendations which directly address the customer feedback provided. Areas outlined for attention/improvement are currently under consideration, with SFM working to develop an action plan which improves the quality of SFM's services in these key areas.


In conjunction with regular meetings with the Buyers Committee during the year, surveys such as this will continue to be distributed on an ongoing basis to ensure that SFM's products and services remain in line with buyer's needs. SFM is also investigating ways of conducting surveys online, with the aim of increasing the amount of buyers reached and responses obtained.


To provide SFM with updated buyer contact information, including your email address, see Bernie Culbert at the Credit Office or contact David Sandrussi on 02 9004 1147 or send an email to




One of the many media outlets that visit SFM.

NEW SFM Tour Policies


Lights, Camera, Action

Sydney Fish Market (SFM) has recently renewed its policy for media attending the site which includes all tenant premises, SFM's three wharves as well as the restricted Auction, Loading Dock and Crate Yard areas.


The policy outlines that all media visits to SFM, including filming (video or still photography), must be organised through the Marketing Department and be accompanied by an SFM representative.


Media are required to:

1.  Complete a SFM Site Application Form, outlining the details of their visit. (This is available from the Marketing Department or the media page at
2. Provide SFM with a signed Site Application Form prior to coming onsite and agreeing to the terms and conditions.
3. Provide SFM with a copy of their current public liability statement at least 24 hours prior to the visit.
4. Media must carry a copy of the approved Site Application Form at all times.


SFM reserves the right to refuse any media access to the site. All visitors are required to wear safety vests and enclosed shoes in restricted areas, including those on camera, at all times.


If you would like a complete copy of the policy, please visit the Media page at


For further information please contact Louisa Goodall, PR Assistant on (02) 9004 1146 or 0421 399 301.


Host with the Most - Tours at SFM


If you are a registered buyer or supplier of SFM and are looking to take some guests around the market, for OH&S reasons you MUST contact the Marketing Department first. This will ensure that SFM are aware of your visit and can provide you and your guests with access to restricted areas, as well as a staff member to answer questions about the site.


Procedure for tours:

1.  Contact Sophie Crabb, Marketing Assistant at least 48 hours prior to the tour on 02 9004 1143 or email
2.  Provide SFM, in writing, the names, titles and companies of the people attending the tour.

Marketing will inform the relevant SFM staff and security personnel of the visit and organise:

An SFM staff member to accompany the tour
Safety vests and boots
Pre tour information forms
4. Buyers/suppliers must have all guests sign the pre tour information form.


If you would like a complete copy of the policy, please visit the Tours page at


For further information about tours at SFM please contact Sophie Crabb, Marketing Assistant on
(02) 9004 1143 or email




The innovative SFM auction.

SNAP on the Auction Clock

Sydney Fish Market (SFM) is constantly assessing its systems to ensure best practice services are provided for its buyers and suppliers. Recently, SFM, in conjunction with it's Buyer's Floor Committee, completed an assessment of the 'SNAP' feature on it's auction clocks.


The 'SNAP' feature is an automatic price increase which takes effect when an SFM buyer bids on a lot within a 15 cent range of its starting price. For example, if the starting price for a lot is $10 and the auction clock was subsequently stopped at $9.90 (within 15 cents of the starting price), the 'SNAP' would previously have increased to a new starting price of $12 ($2 above the original starting price) before the auction resumed. As a result of discussions between SFM and it's Buyer's Floor Committee over updates to the 'SNAP' system, it was unanimously agreed that from Monday, 17 August 2009 the 'SNAP' value will be increased to $5.


Although the SFM auctioneer generally sets the starting price of each lot at $3 - $5 above the market average, from time to time unexpected demand for product will result in the SNAP feature being invoked.


SFM and its auction buyers believe this change will result in a fairer outcome for both supplier and buyer when any product is in unusually high demand. 


For further information on this change to auction procedure, please contact Gus Dannoun on
02 9004 1104 or email



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

T: 61 2 9004 1100 | F: 61 2 9004 1177 | E: