Grahame Turk, managing director of Sydney Fish Market defends the Australian fishing industry's sustainability credentials at the recent SSA meeting.


Bringing together parties from all over the seafood industry, the recent Seafood Services Australia Network Meeting held at Sydney Fish Market (SFM) on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 has set a new benchmark for the collective approach to understanding and tackling the issue of sustainability.

The seminar included keynote presentations from leading fisheries scientist Professor Bob Kearney, visiting environmental expert Mr. Phil MacMullen, SFM managing director Grahame Turk, Duncan Leadbitter from Fish Matter Pty. Ltd. as well as Patrick Hone from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.

Throughout the day there was a good opportunity for question and answer sessions as well as a general discussion forum. With representatives from government departments, environmental NGO's, private companies and working fishers all in attendance, the room provided an unprecedented level of free exchange and consultative round-table discussion.

Of primary importance was the notion of establishing common language from which to frame debate. As Grahame Turk, managing director of SFM pointed out during his opening address, the conflicting opinions which permeate the community do little to advance the understanding of the issue, but rather cloud the scientific research that reaffirms the seafood industry's sustainability credentials.

A key motivation common to all groups present at the meeting was the commitment to draw together and highlight the efforts of the industry in ensuring sustainability. Professor Bob Kearney's keynote presentation addressed the weight of scientific evidence which supports the current management efforts employed by the Australian seafood industry. Rather than hiding from the shortcomings of fisheries management during previous decades, Professor Kearney used these examples to highlight the significant changes that have been implemented to safeguard the industry.

A key drawcard of the meeting was Mr. Phil MacMullen, head of environment at Seafish Industry Authority in the United Kingdom (UK). Mr. MacMullen outlined his experience in founding a common language group in the UK and the establishment of Seafish as the only pan-industry body that offers services to all parts of the seafood industry. With the absence of such an organisation in the Australian industry, Mr. MacMullen's presentation and explanation of a funding model for the organisation through which a levy is charged at the first point of sale, was of particular interest.

Based on the discussions which came out of the meeting, moving forward industry stakeholders will be encouraged to redouble their efforts in creating and maintaining networks – not only with policy makers and government departments, but with environmental NGO's. The various industry bodies will ensure that information is up-to-date and accessible, while being transparent and open. In doing so the industry as a collective movement can continue to build credibility and capitalise on their successes.

By bringing together leaders from across the seafood industry, the meeting forged new territory in defining and setting common ground for the understanding of sustainability. Plenty of work remains in the process of true cooperation; however the more than one hundred delegates present at the network meeting go some way to illustrating that intent is already there.

Left to Right: Gary Howard and Graeme Byrnes; Mark Boulter, Colin Shelley and Geoff Blackburn; Michael Harte and Neil McSkimming; Peter Dundas-Smith and Peter Neville.

The 2011 NSW Seafood Excellence Awards: Nominations closing soon.


With award nominations now being accepted for categories such as seafood supply, excellence in retail, environmental practice and seafood promotion, the journey toward the 2011 NSW Seafood Excellence Awards is firmly underway. This year's awards, to be held on Saturday, 30 July at Sydney Town Hall are set to be better than ever and will bring together a who's who of the seafood industry.

The awards represent a unique opportunity for significant industry recognition and include a range of categories for both individuals and businesses. Several categories such as the Inspired by Seafood (Young Chef Award), Excellence in Environmental Practice and the prestigious Star of the Sea award are open to individuals and businesses right across the industry. Other award categories focus on the achievements of businesses that supply or buy produce through Sydney Fish Market Pty. Ltd. (SFM). A full description of awards criteria can be found at the Seafood Excellence Awards website outlined below.

As former award winners will attest, recognition from within the industry for one of its own is an incredible honour and an achievement which has the potential to positively market a business or individual like no other.

As Mary Howard, winner of the 2009 award for Excellence in Environmental Practice explains, 'I was thrilled to receive the award in 2009. The Seafood Excellence Awards provide such a unique forum to be recognised by peers and industry leaders alike. I would encourage all businesses and individuals who are eligible to take the initiative to get involved and submit an application or nomination. There's so much great work being done within our industry, it's worth promoting and sharing'.

The window of opportunity to submit a nomination is still open, but applicants will need to get moving to avoid disappointment. Eligible businesses and individuals are encouraged to visit the awards website at, to discover more about the awards, view the nomination criteria or to secure tickets to the event itself.

Reno Costi, winner of the 2009 award for Best Seafood Retailer (suburban or regional), is a strong advocate of the awards, and believes they can significantly drive business. As Reno explains, 'There are plenty of award programs recognising small business out there, and my store at Westpoint Blacktown has been lucky enough to win many - but the Seafood Excellence Awards are definitely the cream of the crop. Recognition from within the industry is something very special and sets these awards apart from any other.  Our 2009 award for Best Seafood Retailer hangs proudly in our store and is a fantastic indication to our customers of our industry status'.

Guests at the event will be treated to a fantastic night of fine food, music, and entertainment as well as comedy from the evening's MC, Peter Helliar. The 2011 NSW Seafood Excellence Awards offer something for everyone. This year's award categories include:

Excellence in Environmental Practice
Best Supplier (Aquaculture)
Best Supplier (NSW)
Best Supplier (Interstate or Overseas)
Inspired By Seafood (Young Chef Award)
Best Seafood Retailer (Suburban and Regional NSW)
Best Seafood Retailer (Sydney Fish Market)
Best Fish and Chips (Regional NSW)
Best Fish and Chips (Sydney)
Best Seafood Restaurant (Regional NSW)
Best Seafood Restaurant (Sydney)
Seafood Promotion Award
Seafood Business Award
Star of The Sea

With the Seafood Excellence Awards occurring just once every two years, the time to apply and nominate is now. Join Sydney Fish Market for this year's ceremony and help to provide the positive promotion the industry so richly deserves.

Grahame Turk and Tony Abbott meet to discuss the seafood industry.



Hon. Katrina Hodgkinson, Minister for Primary Industries and a group of delegates from the National Party tour the auction floor with SFM management.


On Friday, 20 May 2011 Mr. Tony Abbott visited Sydney Fish Market (SFM) to speak about his opposition to the Federal Government's proposed carbon tax. Following a tour of the fish market, managing director Grahame Turk had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Abbott about the opposition's views and policies on marine parks, food security and sustainability. Mr. Turk said that the discussion was a great opportunity to strengthen the relationship with the Leader of the Opposition and lobby Mr. Abbott on some important industry issues.

Continuing in the vein of strong industry/government relations, Mr. Turk and members of the SFM management team also had the opportunity to meet with the Hon. Katrina Hodgkinson, Minister for Primary Industries and Minister for Small Business in the state's recently elected Coalition Government. During the visit on Friday, 3 June representatives from the National Party including Kevin Anderson, Member for Tamworth; Troy Grant, Member for Dubbo; Steve Cansdell, Member for Clarence; Kevin Humphries, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Healthy Lifestyles, Minister for Western NSW, Member for Barwon; Rick Colless, Member of the Legislative Council, Deputy Whip in the Legislative Council; Hon. Sarah Mitchell, Member of the Legislative Council; Leslie Williams, Member for Port Macquarie; and Thomas George, Member for Lismore, the Nationals Whip, and Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly also received a tour of the market facilities and first-hand information about the wider issues facing the seafood industry in NSW.

As platinum sponsor of the upcoming Seafood Excellence Awards, the NSW Department of Primary Industries has already shown incredible support for the seafood industry. It is hoped that visits from both state and federal Members of Parliament will further strengthen relations between industry and policy makers.

Seafood Directions, October 23-25 2011.


Plans for this year's Seafood Directions conference are firmly underway with registrations for the three-day event now being accepted. Held on the Gold Coast from October 23 – 25, this year's conference will focus on the 'productivity challenge'.

According to James Fogarty, chairman of the Queensland Seafood Marketers Association, the conference will deliver a tight program of presentations surrounding innovations and products designed to help businesses within the industry become more efficient in supplying consumers with fresh Australian seafood.

The conference and trade exhibition will also provide participants with the opportunity to hear from industry leaders and maximise professional networking opportunities. A social element will be a key element of proceedings, with the inclusion of the sixth Australian Seafood Industry Awards. The awards will take place at the Gold Coast Convention Centre on Tuesday, 25 October and include some of Queensland's finest seafood. All delegates are encouraged to attend the awards to help recognise the outstanding achievements made by individuals and business within the industry.

Activities associated with the conference start on Sunday, 23 October and include the opportunity to attend lunches at the Gold Coast Marine Farm and the Southport Marina. On Sunday evening a welcome reception will take place at the Gold Coast Convention Centre and on Tuesday evening the national awards dinner.

At present the conference steering committee is finalising the details of guest speakers and presenters. Attendees to the event will no doubt be in for a great program on the productivity theme with many interesting speakers (several from New Zealand and the United Kingdom) already requesting to be included on the program.

As steering committee member James Fogarty points out, 'the conference offers an ideal opportunity to visit the Gold Coast at a great time of the year with the family. You'll not only hear presentations from interesting and knowledgeable speakers, but also enjoy the many social interactions the conference and the Gold Coast have to offer'.

As incentive to register now, an early bird registration fee for the three days is available at $550, or $330 for a commercial fisher (limited time only). In addition, all registrations received prior to Thursday, 30 June will go in the draw to receive a refund of expenses up to $1,000.

For further details of the event or to purchase tickets, simply visit

Sydney Fish Market gains international accreditation for greenhouse gas measurement.


Reaffirming its status as a market leader, Sydney Fish Market (SFM) has been announced as the first Australian food-sector company to achieve certification to the International Standard for Corporate Greenhouse Reporting ISO 14064-1:2006 by NCS International.

As SFM's OHS and environment systems manager, Craig Murray explained, 'The certification allows SFM to measure its current carbon footprint and establish a foundation to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase overall energy efficiency and is part of our overall commitment to sustainability'.

The certification process was initiated by SFM senior management in 2010 and involved the implementation of data quality management systems as well as processes to efficiently gather, document and process relevant information on the fuel and energy use of operations it controls.

'SFM is committed to continuously improving its sustainable practices and is thrilled to be the first food-sector company in Australia to be certified', explained Bryan Skepper, SFM's administration manager.

'Now that we have established a foundation to work from, we are able to implement measurable changes, upgrading lighting on the auction floor, for instance, has already resulted in a 70% reduction to our energy consumption in this area. Until we'd gone down this path we really didn't know where our emission levels were as against the mandatory reporting guidelines,' Bryan continued.

'We found that our actual greenhouse gas load was much lower than we thought it might have been and we're actually below the mandatory reporting levels.'

The prescribed levels are set by the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme with the 2010-2011 threshold being set at 50,000 tonnes. At just over 5,000 tonnes, SFM is well below the threshold.

For more information on SFM's sustainability principles and environmental policies, please visit

Sydney Fish Market supplies seafood and support for charity.


When Variety, the Children's Charity and the Starlight Foundation approached Sydney Fish Market (SFM) to provide seafood for their recent fundraising dinners the answer was simple. With both organisations doing such great work in the community to provide care and services to kids doing it tough, SFM was honoured to support the cause.

Held at the Hilton in Sydney on Saturday, 14 May the third annual Variety of Chefs Dinner aimed to raise funds for numerous community projects and much needed medical equipment. Drawing on the assistance of some of Sydney top chefs the event raised more than $104,000.

Variety, the Children's Charity is a national not-for-profit organisation that empowers children who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs. Projects range is size and scale however, the goal to provide assistance for the specific needs of individual children across a diverse spectrum of physical, emotional and financial conditions remains constant.

Likewise, the role of the Starlight Foundation in the lives of seriously ill children and the families has been a comfort for almost thirty years. As anyone who has witnessed or experienced serious childhood illness can attest, hospitals can be scary, isolating and confusing places for children. The Starlight Foundation aims to ease this burden by providing music, entertainment and activities to brighten the otherwise lonely days of a hospital stay.

A marquee event in the calendar of the Starlight Foundation, the Starlight Five Chefs Dinner, held at the Four Seasons Hotel on Thursday, 26 May was an inspirational culinary experience where Australia's top chefs worked together to create a fantastic feast. With more than half a million dollars raised on the night, chefs including Peter Doyle (Est.), Warren Turnbull (Assiette), Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater), Shaun Presland (Saké) and Adriano Zumbo (Zumbo Café and Pâtisserie) donated their time and culinary expertise to deliver a truly memorable night of food and drink.

Closer to home, SFM buyers have once again shown their heart-warming generosity by supporting a charity auction for Neurofibromatosis Australia (NFA) held during the wholesale auction on Thursday, 19 May. The auction aimed to raise funds to assist with the organisation's ongoing efforts to provide support to members, increasing public awareness, provide information and promote research into the causes of the group of genetic conditions called Neurofibromatosis (NF).

As Winston Chui, president of NFA explained, 'We're so lucky to have the support of the Sydney Fish Market buyers. Their generosity is amazing and the $20,000 raised will make a real difference in the lives of many NF sufferers'.

Neurofibromatosis (NF) is one of the most common genetic conditions in the world and can affect anyone regardless of family history, race, gender, or ethnic background. The most common type of NF is usually diagnosed in pre-school children.

SFM's contribution of seafood to Variety and the Starlight Foundation as well as its hosting of the NF charity auction is way for SFM to give back to the community and be involved with some very worthwhile causes. The Australian seafood industry has repeatedly demonstrated its generosity through the positive response provided to countless SFM charity auctions, donation appeals and fundraising initiatives. SFM is proud to take the lead in supporting theses very important organisations.

Amanda Forster, 2011 Barnados NSW Mother of the Year.


Amanda Forster of Failford on the New South Wales Central Coast was named the Barnardos New South Wales Mother of the Year by the Hon. Barry O'Farrell MP at a special ceremony in Sydney on Monday, 4 April 2011.

Amanda met her husband, SFM supplier, Paul Forster, along with his two boys, Mathew (seven) and James (five) at the age of seventeen. At the time Mathew was in remission following a diagnosis of leukemia two years earlier.

Soon after the birth of their daughter Katie in 1996, Mathew's condition relapsed and Amanda spent the next fifteen years nursing Matthew with extended stints at Westmead Children's Hospital separated from the rest of her family. Sadly, Matthew passed away in August 2007.

The Central Coast mother of three was nominated for the award by her step son James who is an SFM supplier.

'Amanda was thrown in the deep end and sacrificed so much for us at such a young age', said James. 'She's never done anything for herself'.

SFM would like to wish the Forster family all the best for the future and extend its sincere congratulations to Amanda for being recognised as the Barnardos New South Wales Mother of the Year for 2011.

Brigid Treloar prepares, cooks and promotes underutilised seafood at the 2011 Easter Show.


As part of an ongoing strategy to promote local Aussie seafood, Sydney Fish Market (SFM) took the opportunity to conduct its trusted Get Fresh with Fish cooking demonstrations at the recent Royal Easter Show.

Held each day over the course of two weeks, the cooking demonstrations were held in the Taste of the Show Theatre Kitchen. Each demonstration was filled to capacity with audience members treated to recipes of Leatherjacket in Mediterranean sauce and stir-fried Cuttlefish, asparagus and Oyster mushrooms with noodles.

The cooking demonstrations form part of an important strategy for SFM in its ongoing promotion of Aussie seafood and the utilisation of undervalued species. Cooking presenter Brigid Treloar is a veteran of the Get Fresh with Fish program and is able to not only demonstrate the cooking process, but also speak more generally about the wider issue of sustainability and the use of undervalued species.

As Brigid explained, 'There are so many great seafood recipes out there that are just so simple and quick to prepare, and by using the undervalued species as part of the demonstration the audience can see how affordable it is as well. The benefit of Get Fresh with Fish goes beyond simply cooking a recipe; it expands the culinary horizons of audience members as well as creating market demand for fishers by promoting lesser known species'.

Assisting Brigid on various days throughout the show, Brad Warren from OceanWatch Australia and local fishers Ritchie and Paul Bagnato, were able to speak about the Australian seafood industry and offer their first-hand experience of life at sea. With 180 seats available for audience members at each cooking session, as well as additional exposure gained through a Q&A format called On the Couch, the inclusion of Brad, Paul and Ritchie provided a truly unique perspective for audience members.

Marketing materials, including brochures from the highly successful Aussie Seafood campaign, were distributed to audience members. SFM's Sustainable Seafood brochure also proved popular, an encouraging step in the process of promoting the industry's environmental credentials and combating the all-too-common misinformation in the community regarding sustainability.

With an attentive audience enjoying recipe samples, vying for prize giveaways and learning more about undervalued species, the Get Fresh with Fish sessions provided an excellent stage for SFM to promote a positive message about the local fishing industry.


Crowds pack retail areas at the recent Easter long weekend.


With crowd numbers up on last year and positive retailer feedback regarding trade figures, this year's Easter period proved yet another successful event for Sydney Fish Market (SFM).

Aided by extended trading hours and the extra long weekend caused by the timing of ANZAC Day, crowds flocked to SFM over the course of the five day break to secure seafood for traditional Good Friday meals and ANZAC Day barbecues. As in previous years, Easter Thursday and Good Friday proved to be the busiest days with solid crowd numbers arriving from early morning right throughout the day.

The final wholesale auction prior to Easter was held on Thursday, 20 April at the special time of 4.30am. Despite the early start time, the trade of more than a hundred tonnes of produce (roughly double that of a normal day's auction) meant that many buyers and trucks were still on site as lunchtime approached. In spite of this, the car park coped well, with figures showing an increase of 5% on last year's car park turnover. The successful flow of cars is thanks, in part, to the team of security personnel and NSW police officers guiding customers in and out of the area - an initiative which has become an essential component of any onsite SFM event.

With such favourable fishing conditions in the weeks leading up to Easter and an abundance of supply flowing from the wholesale auction, customers were treated to a wide variety and well priced offering of produce. Snapper and Yellowtail Kingfish proved very popular ahead of Good Friday, and the perennial year-round favourites of Prawns and Oysters also traded strongly.

As Gus Dannoun, SFM's supply manager explained, 'The supply of produce during the recent Easter period meant that there was something for everyone, both in terms of price and variety. An estimated 55,000 people visited SFM over the course of the weekend, so it was pleasing such an abundance of fresh, quality produce was available'.

Media interest in the event was again strong this year with numerous radio and television crews making their way to SFM to report on the action. Although an extensive advertising initiative was undertaken in the lead up to the Easter period, the value to SFM of the positive PR generated during the course of the weekend far outstrips even the heaviest advertising campaign.

Both major breakfast shows (Sunrise and Today) conducted numerous live crosses during Good Friday morning. Television hosts took the opportunity to interacted with retailers and customers, highlight the extended trading hours and note the abundant supply of fresh produce on offer to consumers.

The ongoing success of large scale events at SFM continues to be a pleasing trend. For Sydneysiders, a visit to SFM at Christmas or Easter is a tradition which reinforces SFM's iconic nature and builds upon an already strong brand reputation.



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

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