SYDNEY – The former head of Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji fish market visited a market in Sydney on Friday to advise the facility on its soon-to-commence redevelopment.
Hiroyuki Morimoto said the cultural differences between fish markets in Japan and Australia mean there are many areas where the two countries can learn from each other.
The iconic but rundown Tsukiji fish market was relocated to Tokyo’s Toyosu waterfront district in October, taking with it roughly 900 businesses.
Similarly, the Sydney Fish Market, which opened in 1989 and hosts the southern hemisphere’s largest seafood auction, will begin a 250 million Australian dollar ($170 million) redevelopment in 2020, with an eye toward being open for business in 2024.
Morimoto said he was impressed with the Sydney Fish Market’s system of cleaning and reusing large plastic storage crates. But he felt Australian fishers would benefit from learning some of the technical fish-handling and preparation skills from their Japanese counterparts.
“It would be good if Australian fishers could come to Japan … and see what happens to the fish after it has been caught. That’s very important,” he said.
In September, representatives from Sydney’s fish market will travel to Japan to inspect the Toyosu market.
According to General Manager Bryan Skepper, “The sorts of things we’re very keen in looking at and learning from is how they adapted to going into a building with multiple floors and moving product in between levels.”
The multistory complex, located on Blackwattle Bay, hosts retail stores, restaurants and a cooking school, but the weekday morning seafood auction is conducted entirely on the ground floor.
Under the redevelopment proposal, the auction floor will be moved to a multilevel facility, similar to the new arrangement in Toyosu.
The cultural exchange between the two fish markets comes as part of an agreement reached in November by the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to boost agricultural exports into international markets.