For more than two decades New Zealand has been a reliable source of fresh chilled seafood for the key seafood market operators in Australia.
At Sydney Fish Market (SFM), the largest of its type in the southern hemisphere, New Zealand sourced seafood makes up approximately 20 per cent of the chilled and live seafood traded by value annually.
Of the 60 or so different species sourced from New Zealand by SFM, blue cod ranks highly with our customers, particularly the Asian clientele who target this consistently high quality fish in whole form for its preparation and consumption as a steamed fish for banquets or as a centre plate for special occasion meals. Once a much underrated species in Australia, blue cod has steadily built a strong customer base and resulted in prices growing three-fold, averaging around $15 per kg annually.
Not surprisingly, the South Island is SFM’s major supply of blue cod and although the Marlborough area isn’t the only region from which this fish is sourced by SFM, it is our most consistent supply for 12 months of the year. Unlike fish such as snapper, blue cod may not necessarily be available every day of the trading week from SFM’s auction but it is shipped at least once weekly, which is important to SFM’s buyers who in turn can then ensure a regular supply to their customers.
In more recent years and through the Marlborough based fishers, SFM’s buyers have been introduced to a relatively new species, butterfish. The unusual characteristics of this fish is also proving to be a very popular fish amongst the same buyer group.
Like blue cod this species too has experienced tremendous market acceptance and price growth.
Any loss or significant reductions in supply quantities from either species into the Sydney market will result in a loss of buyer confidence and a strong likelihood they will shift to more reliable and consistent supplies of other species.