Gold Coast Marine Aquaculture and Tathra Oysters have dominated the 2019 Sydney Royal Fine Food Show – Aquaculture Competition, Sydney Rock Oyster & Prawn Classes, at its first-ever public judging, held on 12 April at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
Australians love their seafood; it’s a large part of our culture and ongoing lifestyle, and for good reason – we have some of the most pristine waterways and expertly farmed aquaculture products in the world. And to a some degree, the foundation of their success is owed to the Committee and judges of the annual Sydney Royal Fine Food Show – Aquaculture Competition.
To win a Sydney Royal award is highly significant, it represents one of the highest accolades in Australia a producer can achieve. To be a medal winner places a great focus on that business, showcasing their product as one with the highest level of quality in taste, aroma and texture. Additional considerations like ecological sustainability, best practise in production management, harvesting, and delivery to market are noted as key points signalling quality in the final product.
In turn, industry peers, chefs and consumers are inspired to seek out and sample, taste and learn about the product’s unique qualities. This results in the aquaculture production bar being constantly raised, encouraging quality standards in food production to improve each year. Sydney Royal Competitions run by the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) are highly respected and keenly followed by leaders in hospitality, food production and ecological science.
The judging panel is made up of industry professionals including: fishermen, marine biologists, chefs, aquaculture hatchery experts, water quality managers and long standing experts (fisheries managers and scientists), many with an outstanding list of achievements. These passionate individuals continue to aid in the development and refinement of Australia’s great fisheries. Many are experts in waterways management and the preservation in marine life ecosystems, including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Each year they come together to determine the quality standard that results in Champion, Gold, Silver or Bronze awards being presented to aquaculture producers.
2019 was the first year the Sydney Rock Oyster and Prawn judging was held live at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, allowing patrons the opportunity to witness the judging process, learn a little about key entrants and taste the product – as oysters were shucked then offered to the general public for a gold coin donation to the RAS Foundation.
The Sydney Royal Fine Food Show – Aquaculture Competition, is broken into two key judging dates. Evaluation of the best product of those presented in Classes 1 to 2 were judged in April. These include Prawns cooked (any species), and Sydney Rock Oysters; while Classes 3 to 7 will be judged in September, and include Oysters other than Sydney Rock ; Fresh Fish; Smoked or Cured Product (hot or cold smoked); Caviar (salt to freshwater farmed); and Other Farmed Aquaculture Products, Whole, (for example, eel products and abalone).
Prawns are judged using 11 criteria, combining to make a possible 100 points. This criteria includes: Flavour and Aroma: taste, sweetness, strength, and aftertaste; Freshness; Shell Hardness and Peelability; Texture: vein; Visual Appearance: anatomy, colour, shell and uniformity of sample.
Oysters are judged using 10 criteria, combining to make a possible 100 points. The criteria includes Taste: flavour, richness, length of flavour/aftertaste, texture and firmness; External: uniformity, shape and overall presentation; Internal: condition and appearance; meat fullness and colour.
Gold Coast Marine Aquaculture is one of the largest Black Tiger Prawn farming companies in Australia and continues to set the benchmark of quality for farmed prawns. This year they have continued their reign by taking home both the Champion Prawn and the Champion Aquaculture Product Perpetual Trophy.
Tathra Oysters, starring in the Sydney Rock Oysters class, was also this year’s winner of Champion Sydney Rock Oyster. A consistent winner in the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show, Tathra Oysters have won numerous awards over the last 18 years, including the President’s Medal in 2006 and the NSW Department of Primary Industries Innovation Award in 2017.
All exhibits entering the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show – Aquaculture Competition, are 100 percent Australian farmed products (not wild caught) and are marketed under a brand that offers a consistent product experience to consumers and chefs alike.
Sydney Royal Fine Food Show – Aquaculture Competition
You can find out more about the competition at