Tony Abbott visits SFM.

No Opposition to Abbott Visit

The auction clock was stopped momentarily and the buyers stand at Sydney Fish Market (SFM) became a stage for the Hon. Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition early on Friday 20th August, 2010.

SFM staff and buyers applauded as Mr. Abbott spoke about his plans to protect marine environments and fishing communities if elected. Essentially he said his policy was about a balanced approach to marine conservation. It would keep marine protected areas on the agenda, but ensure the survival and longevity of coastal fishing communities.

In an interview with Alan Jones on 2GB shortly after visiting SFM, Mr Abbott said he wanted to see oceans protected, and rejected the notion that people living off the sea or fishing activities destroy the ocean.

"They respect the ocean that they make their living from and I think that we should respect them and their concern for the environment," Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott was accompanied by over forty media personnel and security staff who followed him onto the auction floor, into the sashimi pavilion, crustacean pen and past the various fish and seafood species available on the auction floor.

The visit, which occurred just hours before polling booths opened, generated over forty pieces of media coverage which is great exposure for SFM. Featuring prominently in this coverage was SFM's Supply Manager, Gus Dannoun, who imparted on Mr Abbott a plethora of valuable knowledge.

Marketing and Communications Manager, Louise Shaw, who coordinated the visit, said the most exciting moment was when one of the buyers, David Chung from Silverlake, presented Mr Abbott with a SFM beanie saying, "Here's a gift from our family to you".

"I felt really proud at that moment let me tell you," said Louise.

Louise would like to extend a very big thank you to everyone involved in the morning's event. "It was a great success and was a great moment for SFM," she said.

Under threat. Eastern King Prawn supply to significantly drop if Marine Park plans go ahead.

Standing Together on a Solitary Issue

Put simply, the sustainable management of fisheries and the ocean is in everyone's best interest. Career fishers and industry stakeholders have long been supportive of the push to ensure best practice standards are implemented and followed by everyone in the industry to guarantee sustainability.

With the announcement of the Solitary Islands Marine Park however, many in the industry have been left wondering about the science used to determine the validity of Marine Park recommendations.

Located midway between Sydney and Brisbane on the Coffs Coast, the Solitary Islands Marine Park covers approximately 71,000 acres stretching from Muttonbird Island north to Plover Island. The area's warm, nutrient-rich water allow tropical, sub-tropical and temperate marine creatures to coexist and fosters a healthy and diverse marine habitat. For generations the area has supported both a healthy marine environment and a fishing industry which provides NSW with sustainable, quality produce.

Now, pending a Marine Park Authority recommendation, the area may be deemed a "no take" zone with further restrictions to the area and a blanket ban on prawn trawling. In addition to the impact this will have on the livelihood of local fishers, the flow-on effect will be felt state-wide. Approximately 22% of the Australian King Prawn sold at SFM's wholesale auction, for instance, will no longer be available and the supply of several other species such as Flathead, Eastern School Whiting, Octopus, and Striped Trumpeter will also be reduced.

Respected Emeritus Professor of Fisheries, Robert Kearney is just one voice questioning the need for the increased restrictions. Kearney has repeatedly highlighted the questionable science involved in determining the changes and the other reserves around the country.

Prof. Kearney is not alone in his assessment. Industry groups such as OceanWatch Australia, Australian Underwater Federation Inc, Sydney Fish Market and numerous other groups also question the need for the restricted zoning and the science used to make such important decisions.

It has been widely noted that fishing does not pose the biggest threat to marine ecosystems, but rather urban and agricultural run off, habitat destruction resulting from over-development of coastal areas, and introduced species. With the scientific evidence unavailable at present, the extension of existing marine parks is an unnecessary and misguided strategy in tackling the real issue of sustainability.

Considering in the last ten years more than seventy new marine park areas have been implemented and almost another 100 earmarked, the science of marine environments has never been more important.

“We're more than happy to support initiatives that actively and measurably protect and enhance marine environments,” explains Grahame Turk, Managing Director of Sydney Fish Market. “The problem we face at the current time however is that marine parks lack the appropriate scientific evidence to justify their implementation."

Across the industry there is widespread recognition of the challenges involved in achieving balance between biodiversity conservation and access to marine resources. For that reason industry groups work hard to ensure any efforts undertaken are strategic, logical, and accountable. In the case of the Solitary Islands, to date no research has been carried out identifying the cost-benefit the increased restrictions will have on the area.

Submissions for the Solitary Island's Marine Park close on September 17, 2010. Take action and support the industry and be heard. Click here to lodge a formal submission.

Redevelopment plans - from illustration to reality.

SFM Looking to the Future

After many long years of discussion and hope, the redevelopment of Sydney Fish Market is on its way. The most recent artist sketches depict a facility that will not only provide the seafood industry with a world class centre, but provide Sydney yet another jewel in the harbour foreshore crown.

With an enviable location on Pyrmont's Blackwattle Bay, SFM is overdue in providing facilities befitting its status as a Sydney landmark. Blackwattle Bay was once a very active working port. In more recent years the older factories and many commercial spaces in the area have been replaced with luxury apartments, parklands, and modern office blocks. Now, following years of tireless effort and debate, it's SFM's turn to receive a much-needed facelift.

In the coming months, SFM will be publishing regular "redevelopment newsletters" to satisfy the demand for information about the proposed plans and to ensure all stakeholders are well informed about the development's progress. With so many tenants, suppliers, staff, and the general public craving information, the newsletter will be a valuable tool in keeping communication channels open.

In its first edition, the newsletter outlined plans for a multi-level car park, arguably the most sought-after upgrade to the current site. The new car park will add 192 car spaces, bringing the total capacity to 612. With improved traffic flow, buyers accessing the morning's wholesale auction will be able to avoid the backlog of waiting trucks - thus improving efficiency, productivity and occupational health and safety. From the general public's perspective, the new car park will allow for clearer and easier access to the retail areas.

During the last few months SFM has had numerous consultants onsite completing reports on traffic, noise, geotechnical, environmental, heritage and other aspects of the site relevant to the redevelopment. No serious issues have been identified.

The Development Application for Building 1 (adjacent to Felan's) has been lodged, with the aim to have this building completed by Christmas 2010. In doing so, the most disruptive aspects of the redevelopment can be performed after Easter 2011.

For specific enquiries regarding redevelopment please e-mail us at

The Gusto team.

An Italian Festival with Gusto

Sydney Seafood School (SSS), at Sydney Fish Market (SFM), will play host to the 5th annual Gusto Italian Food Festival this month.

Gusto - an Exploration of Italian Regions, will feature cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, kids' cooking classes and tastings from some of Sydney's leading Italian chefs, producers, provedores and importers.

For lovers of seafood Italian style, the Food of Naples and Calabria Masterclass with Armando Percuoco and Salvatore Pepe is a must. Naples' coastline offers a cuisine rich in seafood, whilst Calabria provides tuna and swordfish galore.

With Junior Masterchef about to air on television, Gusto likewise will give kids the opportunity to cook up a storm and showcase their culinary talents. For kids aged six-twelve, Bambini in Cucina (Kids in the Kitchen) allows the young ones to learn basic Italian dishes and appreciate good food, something inherent in Italian culture.

Bambini in Cucina will be presented by Logan Campbell, head chef at Lucio's in Paddington, who at a young age, learned from his family passion for cooking. Other passionate Italian/Australian chefs on the program include; Andrea Corsi, Lucio Galletto, Alessandro Pavoni, Giovanni Pilu, and Danny Russ.

Many of these chefs have appeared on SSS's program and are sure to return due to popular demand.

SSS Manager, Roberta Muir said the best thing about Gusto is that attendees will learn about Italian cuisine from different regions.

"Many people think Italian cuisine is just spaghetti bolognese and lasagne, but it is so much more. This festival is a celebration of the variations between different regions in Italy," said Roberta.

Gusto is not just about the food either. Italy is one of the top three wine exporting nations worldwide; but how do you pick a good Italian wine to go with that delicious Italian meal? Two Italian wine experts, Michael Trembath and Mark Lloyd will take participants through everything they know in a series of wine workshops.

More information on Gusto can be found at To reserve a place in any of the classes please call Sydney Seafood School on 02 9004 1111.

Sunday 12th September
10:00am to 5:00pm
Sydney Seafood School at Sydney Fish Market, Bank St, Pyrmont.
Cost: From $55/session or $200 for a one-day pass including 5 sessions and parking at Sydney Fish Market. Kids classes $20 per child/class or 4 tickets for $60.

Making the grade. Sashimi undergoes assessment for the auction clocks.

Raw Facts about SFM Sashimi Sales

Since the adoption of the Dutch auction system in 1989, SFM has seen a remarkable increase in auction efficiency and overall speed. The system has brought SFM numerous benefits, with sales increasing from approximately 6,000 kgs or 300 crates per hour (using the former voice auction system) to its current level of approximately 20,000 kgs or 1,000 crates per hour. In doing so, SFM has streamlined the sale process of its highly perishable product and ensured buyers receive produce in the fastest and best possible condition.

Until recently, both the crab and lobster cage and the sashimi pavilion voice auctioned product. However, with a new system in place for the grading of Yellowfin Tuna, Swordfish, Bigeye Tuna, Marlin and other longline caught fish, SFM's sashimi pavilion sales (which account for approximately 5% of daily sales at the wholesale auction) have also made the switch to the clocks. Officially the switch occurred in November 2009; however, the process began much earlier with considerable behind the scenes development being conducted during the previous four months.

"The catalyst for the change was two-fold," explained SFM Supply Manager, Gus Dannoun. "The Dutch system has been extremely successful for buyers and SFM. In consultation with the Auction Floor Committee, we identified that some of our buyers were missing out on the opportunity to bid for product located in the sashimi pavilion due to timing clashes caused by the rest of the auction activity," said Gus.

Attempts had been made in the past to develop a workable system for electronically auctioning SFM's sashimi products; however none had adequately solved the issue of identifying and assessing each individual fish. The challenge of solving this issue fell to SFM's Quality Assessment Officer, Lucas Woolford, and Chris Edwards who, in a former position, had gained a wealth of experience grading Tuna for a major Australian exporter to Japan's Tsukiji Fish Market. Together they developed a system of identification whereby fish are assessed on size, as well as a quality grading standard from A to C.

"Once the sashimi grading scheme was established, daily sale prices of sashimi product were monitored with particular attention given to the correlation between price and grading," explained Gus.

With the introduction of the sashimi grading scheme came a new waterproof tagging (labelling) system. The new tag not only records supplier/species details but also shows the assessed sashimi grade and a separate ID number for the buyers to identify each fish. The tag is securely affixed to the fish to ensure the correct identification remains with the fish even after it's been removed from the sashimi pavilion.

"Almost nine months down the track there's no looking back," said Gus. "The buyer feedback has been fantastic and the system is working really well. Since the change was implemented the number of buyers has increased, and perhaps as a result, the average price for sashimi product is increasing."

Although the final figures are yet to be released for the 2009/10 financial year, the volume of sashimi products traded in the last twelve months has increased approximately 15%.

Fast fingers at the Crystal Bay Prawn Peel-off.

The Great Prawn Peel-Off

One of Australia's biggest contests of winter rocked SFM on Saturday, 24 July this year. The grand final of the Great Prawn Peel-Off saw some of the country's finest prawn stars to see who could crush the most crustaceans in sixty seconds.

The event was held and organised by Seafarm using their premium farmed Crystal Bay Prawns from North Queensland.

The contestants, handpicked from grueling state heats, were vying for the national title and a chance to represent Australia at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Assembled at SFM on the day were hopefuls: Joe Arena (QLD), Allan Beeton (SA), Luke Mellers (TAS), De Saisthibej (ACT) and hometown hero Richard "Richo" Daniel, a plumber from Sydney's Northern Beaches.

After weeks of torrential rainfall the peel-off was blessed with perfect prawn peeling weather. A huge crowd amassed to view the spectacle and film crews converged on SFM to document the event.

The rules: Prawns had to be rendered shell-less, headless, legless and tail-less, but the vein did not have to be removed. Any Prawn retaining a hint of leg would not be included in the final count.

A sixty second tempest of Prawn shells and heads rained down on SFM's peeling arena before local boy, Richard Daniel took out the title, peeling an impressive twelve Prawns. The Queenslander, Joe Arena, came a close second peeling eleven Prawns, followed by Luke Mellers from Tasmania on ten, and De Saisthibej and Allan Beeton on nine Prawns a piece.

"It all started as a bit of joke," said Richo. "I heard about the comp on the radio and it just went up, and up, and up, and up. It was awesome!"

With Prawn peeling making news around the country and a new breed of peeling enthusiasts looking on, Richo's successes didn't stop there. Buoyed with confidence from his win at SFM, Richo flew to New Orleans in the United States to take on the big guns in a Shrimp/Prawn contest of international proportions. In scenes reminiscent of Australia's historic America's Cup win in '83, Richo put on a performance for the ages taking out the international crown.

Since the victory, Richo has appeared as a special guest on Channel Seven's Sunrise and the Today show on Channel Nine.

For more information on the Great Prawn Peel-Off visit

If you're interest in hosting an event at Sydney Fish Market please email

Industry leaders working together – Rick Stein, Matt Preston and SFM.

SFM: Celebrity Hot Spot

Reinforcing its reputation as the home of Sydney's freshest seafood, the past six months has seen a plethora of media groups and celebrity chefs descend on Sydney Fish Market (SFM). SFM has played host to various media outlets from Australia and abroad, including food and cooking shows, travel, culture and even children's programmes.

"Certainly one of the highlights in our media relations calendar this year was Neil Perry's visit to film a segment for the ABC's Poh's Kitchen," said Sydney Fish Market's Marketing and Communications Manager, Louise Shaw. The episode, which aired in April, saw Perry helping Poh Ling Yeow, last year's Masterchef runner-up overcome her phobia of cooking whole fish. The segment also included Perry selecting fresh, whole fish and passing on his wealth of knowledge on seafood to Poh and the audience.

Neil Perry, who runs and owns Sydney fine dining institutions Rockpool, Rockpool Bar & Grill and Spice Temple, as well as coordinating Qantas' catering, was just one of a number of food industry leaders to visit SFM this year.

"Retailers at SFM possess a plethora of seafood knowledge and many of Sydney's elite chefs have strong working relationships with them, so it's understandable Perry decided to speak to Brent Cowdroy from Christie's Seafoods during the episode," Louise said.

Another highlight from the year so far has been Masterchef presenter and respected food critic Matt Preston's visit with Rick Stein to Sydney Fish Market for a photo shoot.

"It's great to see a world renowned seafood chef like Rick Stein excitedly inspecting produce on the auction floor and with our retailers," explained Louise. "Then to cook it up at Sydney Seafood School was just fabulous."

Tetsuya, whose self-titled restaurant is consistently rated amongst the best in the world, has also spent some time at SFM recently. Tetsuya was featured in a travel documentary focused on Asian-Australian success stories.

In June, Mike Whitney filmed a segment for Channel Seven's Sydney Weekender where the Market was featured as a prime stop in rounding up Sydney's freshest produce. The produce was then cooked up by noted chef, author and TV personality Matt Moran, who is also a guest presenter at Sydney Seafood School.

Just last week Andy and Jonathon from from the Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch series came down to De Costi for a meet and greet with fans and to promote season six of their highly popular television show. De Costi also provided fans the opportunity to taste-test a selection of seafood, including Alaskan King Crab, the crustacean which Andy and Jonathon risk their life to catch.

SFM enjoys a unique reputation as an attraction for tourists as well as destination for local residents and Sydneysiders. Advertising plays an important role in maintaining brand awareness of SFM within the community, but as Louise explains, visits from celebrity chefs and media personalities provide invaluable exposure for SFM, their tenants and the seafood industry.

"When industry leading chefs and media personalities choose to visit SFM it shows how well respected SFM is within the food industry for the freshest seafood and greatest selection. People see Neil Perry or Tetsuya at the Market and instantly there's a positive association."

It's difficult to put a value on the PR that SFM receives each year as the home of fresh seafood in Sydney; however, rough estimates of the media exposure generated around the Christmas period alone exceed $1 million. That's even more than the heaviest of traditional advertising campaigns!

Jessica Harding, SFM Public Relations Coordinator.

Staff News: Jessica Tackles PR

New Public Relations Coordinator Jessica Harding swims into Sydney Fish Market's (SFM) marketing team, as we say goodbye to Louisa Goodall.

"Having known Louisa at uni, I know I have big shoes to fill, but I look forward to new challenges and a career in the seafood industry at Sydney Fish Market," said Jess.

A passionate foodie and wine-ie, Jess brings event and media experience, and many years of food service industry experience to boot. She graduated at the end of last year from Charles Sturt University in Bathurst with a double degree in BA (Comms-PR & Org Comm)/B Bus.

Aside from promoting cooking and eating fish and seafood, Jess enjoys playing soccer and attending music festivals.



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

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