Restricted waters: Oceans and fishing resources now subject to further closures.

Tony Burke Announces Marine Park Network


Adding to an already extensive network of marine ‘protected’ areas across Australia, the recent announcement by Tony Burke, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities has cast considerable concern over many fishing communities around the country.

It is hoped that the effect of the parks will be relatively low in NSW; however other areas may not fare so well with many asking why a healthy, renewable resource with world-leading management practices, should be subject to such extensive closures at all.

Sydney Fish Market (SFM) believes the process of risk assessment to justify the marine parks was flawed as major environmental risks such as pollution and introduced pests are not addressed by marine parks - and unlike land based zoning, the ocean cannot be protected simply by fencing it off.

Scientific debate is wide-ranging about the supposed benefits to biodiversity from marine parks in areas of good fisheries management, such as Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef marine park is a classic example where fishing was removed, yet the reef remains in trouble because major threats such as land based pollution, sedimentation, increasing water acidity and introduced pests, were not addressed.

On the positive side, for the temperate east region (which is very important for seafood supplies to Sydney and Melbourne) the Minister has acted on fishing industry advice to minimise the impact to the fishing industry and seafood supply to these areas, whilst still achieving the government’s objectives.

More than seventy percent of seafood consumed in Australia is imported, often from countries with far inferior environmental controls and sustainability credentials. With further closures to local waters, reliance on imported product is set to rise with the burden of responsible practices exported to developing countries like Vietnam and Thailand.

According to Grahame Turk, SFM’s managing director the announcement of the marine park network illustrate the importance of establishing science, and not interest group influence, as the foundation of decisions. 

‘Where robust and rigorous scientific evidence suggest additional measures, beyond current management practices are required, then industry should support those decisions. Unfortunately in the case of marine parks that evidence just isn’t there and hard working fishers have again been demonised and thrust into the middle of a political debate. The closures will certainly have considerable effect on many, but the situation could have been much in NSW worse if some green groups had their way’.



Join the conversation: All parties encouraged to voice their opinion at

Website potential brings sustainability stakeholders together


The issue of sustainability as it relates to the seafood industry is critically important and an issue that is dominating policy and practice throughout the supply chain. In terms of setting an agenda and leading discussion on sustainability, opinions come from any number of stakeholders. The general public, industry groups, environmental non-government organisations, retailers, scientists and policy makers all offer opinions and are entitled to have their case heard as part of holistic debate.

It is these opinions and views that a new website aims to combine by providing an open forum in which interested stakeholders can participate.

The idea for the website, which combines web links and information from a number of industry, government and NGO sources, followed a visit to Australia from leading marine and fisheries scientist Dr. Ray Hilborn. Dr. Hilborn identified the need to de-fragment discussions around sustainability and engage with the community, industry and government perceptions of sustainability.

Established and administered under the banner of the NSW Seafood Industry Council (NSWSIC), the forum not only allows an open and transparent flow of discussion, but also provides a platform from which to promote scientific truths about Australia’s fishing industry. The goal of the website, according to NSWSIC chair Grahame Turk, is to provide a collective forum where discussions are born from robust science rather than soapbox.

‘When it comes to debate about sustainability, research-based and moderate opinions are sometimes drowned out by unfounded hysteria and emotional rhetoric. By bringing together the various stakeholders and sharing their resources in one location we hope to develop the goals and central points that unite us, rather than those that serve to divide. We want to establish science as the bedrock of all discussion and debate’.

Seafood industry stakeholders are encouraged to visit the site and contribute to the conversation. A forum is already underway which seeks to discuss whether Australian seafood is sustainable now. However, the site is user generated – so discussion topics are up to the stakeholders themselves and should be used to learn, engage and inform.  

Attention suppliers of larger fish species. SFM requests new measures.

Suppler Note: Large fish delivery

For suppliers of large fish such as Bar Rock Cod, Snapper, Bass Groper, Hapuku, and Blue Eye Trevalla a new guideline has been requested relating to the delivery of such species.

When packing crates to be sold at Sydney Fish Market’s (SFM) wholesale auction, where possible suppliers are asked to implement the following two measures.

  • When supplying large fish please grade and pack the fish into uniform sizes.
  • Once the fish have been sorted into crates of uniform size, please ensure a fish count is included on the barcode label and attached to the crate. 

If you have any questions regarding the request please feel free to email Lucas Woolford in SFM’s quality assurance department at

OceanWatch Australia representative, Mr. David Kreutz, accepts the ‘Seven News Clean-up Award’ on behalf of OceanWatch and the Hays Inlet Cleanup program.

OceanWatch cleans up the opposition

Sydney Fish Market (SFM) would like to congratulate OceanWatch Australia in taking out the ‘Seven News Clean-up Award’ at the recent Healthy Waterways Awards held on Thursday June 28. OceanWatch Australia’s Tide to Table program received the award for their efforts in removing debris from the Hay’s Inlet fish habitat area. The project involved eighty-five volunteers and the removal of 7.5 tonnes of debris from two kilometres of the sensitive Hays Inlet fish habitat area.

OceanWatch Australia’s SeaNet team leader for Southern Queensland, Mr. David Kreutz, explained that the debris collected from the site was a direct result of the devastating floods early last year.

‘The Hays Inlet clean-up removed the last major deposit of debris from the 2011 flood in Moreton Bay. This debris was in a logistically difficult and sensitive mangrove fish habitat area’, explained David. Rubbish removed included three large pontoons, three commercial refrigerators, numerous car tyres and 127 bags of litter.

Managing director of Channel Seven, Mr. Max Walters, said he was proud to be part of the Healthy Waterways Awards and sponsor such an important award category.

‘Channel Seven takes great pride in its sponsorship of the Healthy Waterways Clean-up Award. Seven is delighted to recognise outstanding initiatives which remove litter from our waterways’.

Now in its twelfth year, the annual Healthy Waterways Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of groups and individuals working to improve the health of South East Queensland’s waterways and catchments.

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, The Hon. Andrew Powell, MP, also paid tribute to the organisations and individuals who do their part to protect and improve the waterways.

‘I congratulate the finalists and winners of the 2012 Healthy Waterways Awards for their hard work and dedication in protecting South East Queensland’s precious waterways’. Minister Powell said. ‘The work showcased through the Healthy Waterways Awards represents the essence of Healthy Waterways – industry, community, schools, individuals, researchers and governments working together to safeguard our waterways for future generations’.

Healthy Waterways is not-for-profit, non government organisation working to protect and improve South East Queensland’s waterways. For more information visit or contact Healthy Waterways on 07 3177 9100.


SFM’s finances in good hands. Paul Ferrabetta welcomes incoming finance manager, Stephen Groom.

Does it get any Ferra-betta?

Following a marathon thirty-three years of loyal and dedicated service, Sydney Fish Market’s (SFM) finance manager Paul Ferrabetta has called it a day; retiring to a life of travel, family and relaxation.

Starting at the NSW Fish Marketing Authority in 1979, Paul began his career with the organisation as an accountant. More than thirty years on, he has seen the company transition through changes in management, movement of premises, privatisation, the introductions of the Dutch auction system and the GST, plus many other phases of operation.

‘The market has been a great place to work over the years and in many respects it’s become like a second home. I’ve been lucky to have worked with some wonderful people during my time – many of whom have also worked at the market for decades’, explained Paul. ‘I won’t miss the smell, that’s for sure, but I’ll certainly miss walking in and seeing the good friends that I’ve made over the years’.

SFM’s managing director, Grahame Turk, described Paul’s contribution to the company as remarkable.

‘Every year our accounts are scrutinised by the auditors and every year they have congratulated Paul on the quality of the accounts. The board relies heavily on the skills and diligence of the finance manager and in that regard Paul was exceptional. On top of that Paul was a really great person to work with.‘

Paul’s position as finance manager has been filled by Stephen Groom who officially took the reins on Monday, 12 June. Until recently Stephen was the company accountant at Zoll Medical, but has spent the last several weeks learning the SFM systems and procedures.

‘Taking over from Paul I know I’ve got big shoes to fill’, explained Stephen. ‘But I’m certainly looking forward to getting stuck in and joining the team. Paul has left everything in perfect order, so I’m sure the transition will go smoothly’.

SFM would like to thank Paul for his amazing service and dedication over so many years and wish him well in retirement.

SFM also welcomes Stephen to the family.

Stephen can be contacted on 9004 1120 or at




Global lessons: one of the many seafood displays at the recent European Seafood Expo

Seafood Education from around the globe

To better understand emerging trends and advances in the global seafood sector, Erik Poole, Sydney Fish Market’s (SFM) customer account manager recently visited the European Seafood Expo 2012 (EXE). The conference covered a range of topics and provided valuable insights into industry trends from around the globe.

The most obvious trend across all exhibitors was the prominence of packaged seafood products carrying third-party eco-certification. Similar products and certifications are appearing on Australian supermarket shelves and ‘environmentally friendly’ sourcing policies now dominate local supermarket policy.

This move plays on the inaccurate perception many Australians have that fish stocks are depleted. The move also allows supermarkets to stock a smaller range of species declared ‘fully sustainable’. Fishmongers generally offer a much greater range of seafood, with many species unlikely to have formal sustainability assessment - due to the small size of each particular fishery.

According to insights gained at the EXE, many examples from around the world show eco-labelling has achieved mixed results at best. For instance, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) which is a levy-funded government agency representing all Alaskan fisheries, walked away from a decade-long partnership with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in January 2012.

Some of the reasons given included:

  • A strong focus on the MSC brand, rather than the fishery, i.e. the Alaskan Seafood brand being diluted and lost.
  • A significant drain on fishery management resources as MSC refuses to accept data in its standard form.
  • Fishery certifiers are not independently accredited.
  • Sales royalty for use of the MSC logo on packaging increased from .5% to 1.5% during the time of certification.
  • MSC allows ‘conditional certification’, which means a poorly managed fishery receives the same tick of approval as top-rated fisheries.
  • The perception that MSC has low brand equity and therefore limited price gain following certification.

According to the insights Erik gained through his attendance at the conference there are many valuable lessons in the Alaskan Seafood eco-labelling experience that need to be considered in the current push by Australian supermarkets toward certified seafood.

According to Erik, ‘there is no doubt that consumers are increasingly concerned over the sustainability of the seafood that they are buying. Considering Australia is internationally regarded as having some of the best-managed fisheries, Australian consumers need to know and believe this. That is, the local industry and its sustainable seafood need to be promoted as a key message rather than third-party accreditation’.

Erik’s attendance and participation in Europe was due, in large part, to a grant awarded through the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation (FRDC) and the West Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC). Similarly Mark Boulter, SFM’s quality assurance manager has recently been successful in an application through the Seafood Cooperative Research Centre for a grant which will allow him to participate in a week-long seafood executive course run through Monash University at the Mt. Eliza Business School.

For further information regarding bursary opportunities visit:
Seafood CRC



Paul Busingye joins the SFM team as site services manager

Paul Busingye joins Sydney Fish Market

Sydney Fish Market (SFM) is pleased to announce the appointment of a new team member to work alongside the marketing department. Paul Busingye has filled the newly created position of site services manager and will be working with onsite security, cleaners, tenants and SFM staff to streamline facilities management and ensure trouble-free operations right across the week.

Paul has extensive experience in facilities management working in similar roles for many years at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art and Sydney Wharves.

SFM had for some time identified the need for a personnel presence across the weekend trade period – when the tenants are arguably at their busiest. Paul's position now gives the tenants and onsite contractors a central point of contact in relation to events and promotions, rubbish and bin management, ice production and delivery, as well as parking and security contractor coordination.

Paul can be contacted on 0423 600 143 or by emailing

Welcome to the team Paul.



A win win situation for the fishing industry: Media interest and news stories about fishers entertain and inform.

Fishing for Stories

Among the many media interviews and photography projects requested of Sydney Fish Market (SFM) in recent months, increasingly there has been an interest in sharing first-hand stories of fishers. These projects offer a unique opportunity to provide an insight into some of the barriers fishers can face as part of their profession.

Recent projects involving fishers have included interviews for Pittwater Magazine (to be published in the coming months), an online interview which appeared on the ABC 702 website with Paul Bagnato, as well as a more light-hearted project where members of the local fishing fleet judged a seafood 'cook-off' on Channel Ten's new television show The Living Room (aired Friday, 1 June).

Hardliners which was shot in 2010 and 2011 on board local vessels such as South Seas 1, The Angelica and Santo Rocco is also being considered for another series on Fox 8. Hardliners was the first locally produced production of its kind and gave viewers a unique insight into the life onboard a working fishing vessel.

Recently Gina Reynolds, a freelance writer, interviewed fishers Paul and Diego Bagnato for the magazine Peninsula Living. The article highlighted the fact that Australian waters are some of the most tightly regulated in the world and that fishers should be seen as essential food providers.

Paul and Diego explained to Gina that many people don't know what's actually involved in putting fish on a table.

'It often feels that the public believes we're raping and pillaging the sea - but we're not. We want to look after the grounds because we want a future. The sea has been in our life for a long time. We offer a service to the community and we work hard to provide that service. Unfortunately there may come a time if we vanish, when there won't be any locally caught fish,' explained Paul.

SFM would like to thank the many fishers throughout Australia for allowing their stories to be told. Without real stories, many people just wouldn't be aware how hard fishing can be and the service that it provides to the community. SFM realises the importance of this and will continue to work to promote Australian seafood.



Local Support: Pyrmont’s local dragon boat team achieving great results with the help of SFM

Paddling for Success

For regular visitors to Sydney Fish Market (SFM), the site of the local dragon boat racing team paddling across Blackwattle Bay is a familiar one. The waters around Pyrmont and in particular, Blackwattle Bay, is the team's home and location for their regular early morning training sessions.

In recent months the hard training has paid significant dividends with the team enjoying a number of successful competition outings. Both on an individual level, and under the ACCA (Australian Chinese Community Association) team banner, the paddlers have had their best season to date.

Among the various honours, the team's achievements this year included:

  • A silver medal at the national titles at Melbourne Docklands in the men's 500 metres.
  • Reaching the semi finals in the women's 500 and 200 metres at the national titles.
  • Boasting fourteen representatives in the NSW state squad.
  • Placing sixth in the men's competition at the Sydney Chinese New Year races.
  • Winning eleven of the twenty-six races that form part of Sydney's local dragon boat racing season (ACCA's highest success ratio ever).
  • Tony D'Andretti being appointed to the board of the Australian Dragon Boat Federation.
  • Brad Hughes being selected to be part of the Australian dragon boat team to compete in Korea in September, 2012.

SFM would like to congratulate the team on their hard work and for achieving such fantastic results throughout the 2012 season. To get involved in dragon boat racing with the local team click here.



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


T: 61 2 9004 1100 | F: 61 2 9004 1177 | To comment on or contribute to SFM News, please contact the editor at


To unsubscribe CLICK HERE