Sydney Fish Market has been using the Dutch clock auction since 1989. Adopted from the Dutch tulip auctions, the system ensures product is sold quickly while achieving premium prices.
Held from 5.30am every weekday, except public holidays, the Dutch clock auction is a silent auction which begins at a price above that anticipated for the product on offer and drops until a bid is made. The starting price is usually set about $2 to $5 above what the product is expected to receive. Three clocks auction seafood simultaneously to ensure product is sold quickly.
Under the Dutch auction system, over 1,000 crates are sold every hour (approximately 20 tonnes). On average each crate weighs 18 kilograms. Sydney Fish Market sells around 2,900 crates at every auction, which equates to an average of 50-55 tonnes of fresh and live seafood every day.There are 350 registered active buyers, of which approximately 160 accounts are used daily to purchase from the auction. Buyers begin viewing the produce from 4.30am, each morning, Monday to Friday. Before being eligible to bid at the Sydney Fish Market auction each buyer must be registered. When they register most buyers are assigned a credit limit in accordance with their respective bank guarantee lodged with Sydney Fish Market.Sydney Fish Market’s auction system also allows buyers to bid remotely from anywhere in Australia and New Zealand. No more do buyers wishing to participate in Australia’s largest seafood auction need to be present at the auction each morning.To make a bid, buyers enter their six-digit login number into one of the 180 keypads in the buyer's grandstand or the remote bidding login screen. Each buyer's terminal has three bid buttons allowing them to participate in all three auctions.
Once buyers have purchased the seafood and printed out their removal dockets (picking slips), the seafood is collected from the auction floor. Wheelers/porters pick up the product and take it to be scanned at the removal gate before it is whisked away to retail outlets and restaurants.