Our Company

Company Overview

SFM is the largest market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. A working fish market, SFM sources product both nationally and internationally and trades over 13,500 tonnes of seafood annually - with up to one hundred sustainable seafood species traded every day and approximately 500 species traded annually.

SFM employs approximately 65 staff to organise the weekday wholesale auction, promote Sydney Fish Market as the centre of seafood excellence and operate the Sydney Seafood School. 

Since opening in 1989, Sydney Seafood School has played an important part in persuading Sydney residents to eat more fish. The School is considered to be one of Australia’s leading cooking schools. Over 12,000 people come to classes each year.  Visit the SSS pages for more information or to book a class.

Onsite, SFM hosts six seafood retailers, a bottle shop, greengrocer, bakery, butcher, sushi bar, restaurants, gift shop and gourmet deli.

History

Until 1945, the marketing of fish in New South Wales was conducted by licensed fish agents operating out of Haymarket fish market, or by unlicensed operators elsewhere in the state. 

In 1945, the New South Wales government amended the Fisheries and Oyster Farms Act to effectively cancel all licenses held by Sydney fish agents and transferred the marketing of fish in New South Wales to the Chief Secretary’s Department.  The Chief Secretary’s Department established a regulated market system and controlled the centralised market in Sydney until 1994. 

At the same time, the marketing of fish in New South Wales outside Sydney was conducted through a number of fishermen’s cooperatives operating along the coastal areas of NSW.  1964 saw the formation of the Fish Marketing Authority, a new yet still state run body, which assumed responsibility for the conduct and management of SFM previously maintained by the Chief Secretary’s Department.

Two years later in 1966, SFM moved from the Haymarket area of Sydney to its current location at Blackwattle Bay, Pyrmont.  In those days, fish were sold using the labour intensive, traditional ‘voice’ auction system. This system saw buyers assemble outside the sales bay fence, where inside an assistant would hold up samples of fish from each box for buyers to bid until the highest price was reached.

Sydney Fish Market Pty Ltd was formed on the 28 October 1994, when the NSW Government privatised the marketing of seafood. Since then two equal shareholders, the Catchers Trust and the Sydney Fish Market Tenants and Merchants Pty Ltd have jointly owned the company.  Shortly after the NSW State government deregulated fish marketing over a two-stage, five-year period, as legislated monopoly was not acceptable under private ownership. 

The first stage of deregulation came in November 1997 when fishermen’s cooperatives were permitted to sell directly to Sydney buyers.  Total deregulation followed in November 1999, when New South Wales catchers could supply direct to any buyer in possession of a Fish Receiver’s Permit.  The result, SFM no longer holds a monopoly over the sale of seafood into the Sydney region.

SFM introduced a computerised Dutch auction in October 1989, dramatically evolving the way fish was to be sold.  Modelled on the ‘reverse’ auction system, which has been used for over 130 years to sell tulips in Amsterdam, SFM’s auctioneers set the price approximately $3 higher than the assumed market price.  The clock then winds down at a rate of $1 per revolution and the price drops until a buyer stops the clock by pressing a button.  The successful buyer then selects a number of crates from the ‘lot’. In February 2004, state-of-the-art digital video projectors were installed to enhance the auction clocks. These large screens face toward around 150 to 200 buyers each day.

Through this reverse auction system, SFM can now offer buyers the fastest and most efficient method of trading seafood, whilst still ensuring the best possible price in open competition. Approximately 1,000 crates or 20,000 kg of seafood are sold every hour during SFM auctions.  That’s an average of 2,700 crates, or 50 tonnes of fresh seafood, traded every day. 

In 1989 SFM established Sydney Seafood School. The School now attracts 12,000 participants a year and hosts an enviable list of Australia’s finest guest chefs. In 2001, SFM launched its innovative new online-based seafood trading system, SFMlive that operates in addition to the Dutch auction.  SFMlive now provides traders with advanced facilities for direct online seafood sales including wild harvest, aquaculture and frozen products, taking fish trading to a new level.

Consigning from within Australia


1. PRODUCT MAY BE PACKED IN:
  • Plastic self-draining returnable SFM crates
  • Standard foam boxes
  • Cardboard boxes or coffins
  • Insulated bulk bins

Chill fish to between -1°C and 5°C and add sufficient ice to keep product cold until sold.


2. LABEL CONTAINERS ON SHORT END WITH:
  • Your name and SFM account number
  • Species
  • Weight
  • Size (Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large)
  • Processing method (eg. GU=Gutted, GH=Headed/Gutted, GG=Gilled/Gutted, FI=Fillets)
  • Quality (e.g, A, B)

Labels are 12.5cm wide by 10cm high

We can supply your own customised bar-coded labels at $11.00 (including GST) per 100 labels. 
Phone 02 9004 1100, Fax 02 9004 1171, or Email supplydept@sydneyfishmarket.com.au to order.


3. PREPARE MANIFEST WITH FULL DETAILS OF CONSIGNMENT:
  • Supplier name and SFM account number
  • Date consigned and transport details
  • Total number of boxes
  • Full details of species and weight in each box including size and processing

Give a copy of manifest to transport company with consignment. Email manifest to domreceivals@sydneyfishmarket.com.au or fax to SFM on 02 9004 1171.


4. MARKET OPEN TO RECEIVE PRODUCT

From 3.00pm Sunday, or from 4.00pm Monday-Thursday afternoons, until 5.00am the following morning.


5. WHAT SYDNEY FISH MARKET CHARGES FOR ITS SERVICES:

Margin rates:

  • Fish and mollusc: 11%
  • Crustacea (prawns, crabs, lobsters): 9%
  • For suppliers who reach $350,000 in total auction gross sales during a financial year, the margin rates are reduced by 3% for the remainder of that financial year.

Daily Fish Prices

click here to log in >

In order to gain access to SFM's Auction prices, you must be a registered supplier with SFM and consigning regularly to the Auction.

Prices are updated every 15 minutes during the Auction. Bookmark this page for easy access.

Regular suppliers will continue receiving Auction prices of the species they consign via daily email.

Only contracted suppliers will have access to all prices from the general market. 

Further Enquiries:

For further enquires on accessing prices through the website or general enquiries relating to supplying to SFM, please contact our Supply Department on +61 2 9004 1105 or via email supplydept@sydneyfishmarket.com.au.

SFM's Retailers

Sydney Fish Market’s six wet fish retailers offer Australia’s biggest variety of fresh seafood. The site also features numerous restaurants and cafés, bakery, butcher, gourmet deli, greengrocer, bottle shop, fishing supplies store and gift shop.

PLEASE NOTE: No pets are allowed in any retail or eating space including the boardwalk. Guide dogs are permitted.

Download our Retailer Map

Events at Sydney Fish Market

SFM's Auction System

SFM 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 the highest price and drops until a bid is made. The starting price is usually set about $2 above what the product is expected to receive. Two clocks auction seafood simultaneously to ensure product is sold quickly.

Under the Dutch clock auction around 1000 crates are sold every hour. On average each crate weighs 23 kilograms. SFM sells around 2700 crates at every auction, which equates to an average of 50-55 tonnes of fresh 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. Before being eligible to bid at SFM each buyer must register. When they register majority of buyers are assigned a credit limit in accordance with their respective bank guarantee lodged with SFM.

To make a bid, buyers enter their six digit log on number into one of the 260 key pads in the buyer's grandstand. Each buyer's terminal has two bid buttons allowing them to participate in both auctions.

Once buyers have purchased the seafood and printed out their removal dockets, the seafood is collected from the auction floor. Wheelers pick up the product and take it to be scanned at the removal gate before it is whisked away to retail outlets and restaurants.

Go Behind the Scenes. Click here for tour information>

 

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Supply of labels

We can supply your own customised bar-coded labels at $11.00 (including GST) per 100 labels. 

Phone 02 9004 1100, Fax 02 9004 1171, or email supplydept@sydneyfishmarket.com.au to order.