Online trading

Australia’s largest fish market launches first e-commerce platform

Australia’s biggest fish market has launched an online trading platform that will allow commercial fishermen to set prices.

The Sydney Fish Market SFMblue program will also allow anglers to trade directly in markets from anywhere in Australia.

Market managing director Greg Dyer said the traditional auction system would remain the key trading system for around 400 different species worth up to $170 million a year.

“The auction has served a very big purpose over a long period of time, but it’s a bit of a brutal instrument that depends on the supply and demand equation on a daily basis,” Dyer said.

The online system would provide greater certainty to fishermen, allowing them to set a price to recoup their costs, he said.

“Rather than being subjected to a daily auction price, which of course can vary depending on the demand displayed, they can market their product at a fixed price, which suits them,” he said.

Seafood Digital Marketplace

Seafood supplier John Susman said the new program recognizes the market is moving towards more direct sales as buyers want to know where seafood is coming from.

Fishermen can set prices under the new digital marketing system.(Landline: Sean Murphy)

“It’s the contemporary leader’s slogan,” he said.

“Where did it come from? Who caught it and when was it caught? And wild seafood is such a special resource that those points are really important in the whole conversation.”

The digital commerce system comes at a time when more anglers are selling directly to restaurants.

Yamba-based Troy Billin is certified master fisherman by the non-profit marine conservation group Oceanwatch.

Photo of a fish held in the hands.
Troy Billin catches fish like this yellowfin bream off the coast of northern New South Wales.(Landline: Sean Murphy)

This means his customers can swipe a barcode and learn more about the fishing methods he uses and a code of practice he follows based on sustainability and environmental stewardship.

“We go through training to make sure we are aware of all threatened and endangered species, catch return reports, reports of interactions with threatened endangered species. So it gives the public that kind of image that we’re doing the right thing; we’re responsible,” Billin said.

Direct sales to customers

One of his clients is celebrity chef Neil Perry. At his Margaret restaurant in Sydney’s Double Bay, waiters know Mr Billin’s background and his catch, which is usually on the menu within 24 hours of its catch.

Photo of a man on a boat holding a fish.
Troy Billin sells directly to clients like celebrity chef Neil Perry.(Landline: Sean Murphy)

“We call our anglers to the menu,” Perry said.

“They’re our family. We don’t order fish from them. They tell us what they caught. So it’s really a relationship that not only do we hold sacred, but more importantly, the customers do it because they like to come here [and] eat wild fish. [They] know that it is durable and [they] know that we have a relationship with each fisherman. We don’t just buy fish from the market that we can get our hands on. »

Oceanwatch Master Angler Certification program manager Michael Wooden said around 180 anglers from New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia have achieved accreditation so far. .

“A lot of it is about responsible best practices and understanding what’s expected of them,” Wooden said.

“It’s a bit about respect and social license. It’s about getting anglers to understand what the fishing rules and regulations are, to embrace them and to understand what voluntary measures we could take in addition of these.”

A bird's eye view of two men on a small boat pulling a net disappearing into the ocean.
Oceanwatch hopes to extend its certificate not only to fishermen, but also to other seafood producers.(Provided: Marine Fishermen’s Association)

Oceanwatch is now extending the program to the NSW oyster industry with around 80 farmers having recently completed workshops on best farming practices.

Watch this story on ABC TV’s landline at 12:30 p.m. Sunday or on ABC iview.