۵ַ has been using the Dutch clock auction since 1989. Adapted from the famous Dutch tulip auctions of the 1600s, the system ensures product is sold quickly while still achieving fair prices.


Every weekday morning at 5:30am, our auction begins.

  • More than 100 buyers attend the auction.
  • Over 1000 crates (approximately 20 tonnes) of fresh seafood are sold every hour... That works out to about 2900 crates (50-55 tonnes) every day!
  • More than 100 different species can be seen on the auction floor on any given morning, from Mud Crabs to Mussels, Swordfish to Snapper.


Seafood arrives to Market all through the night, from a range of NSW fishers, farms and cooperatives, as well as fishers as far flung as Tasmania, the Northern Territory, and New Zealand.

It is laid out in neat sections on the auction floor in our famous blue crates by the hardworking night shift staff, ready for buyers to inspect the next day.

Dutch clock auction is a silent auction, which begins at a price above that anticipated for the product on offer, and drops until a bid is made. The starting price is usually set about $2 to $5 above what the product is expected to sell for. 

Three clocks auction seafood simultaneously to keep the process speedy... We have up to 50 tonnes to get through every day, after all!

After inspecting the seafood, our registered buyers watch the clocks and start bidding on product, either using keypads in the buyer's grandstand, or remotely.

Once they have secured their catch, buyers send their 'wheelers' onto the floor with a picking slip. 

The wheelers (who have one of the most physical jobs at the Market) collect the various boxes on trolleys, forklifts, or by hand, and take them out to the carpark.

Then, the seafood is whisked away in refrigerated trucks to wholesalers, restaurants, fishmongers, and grocery stores all over Sydney!



Want to see it for yourself? Book one of our Behind the Scenes Tours for a glimpse of the action.