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A fish market is a marketplace for selling fish and fish products. It can be dedicated to wholesale trade between fishermen and fish merchants, or to the sale of seafood to individual consumers, or to both. Retail fish markets, a type of wet market, often sell street food as well.

Fish markets range in size from small fish stalls, such as the one in the photo at the right, to the great Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, turning over about 660,000 tonnes a year.[1]

The term fish market can also refer to the process of fish marketing in general, but this article is concerned with physical marketplaces.

History and development

The Great Fish Market, painted by Jan Brueghel the Elder

Fish markets were known in antiquity.[2] They served as a public space where large numbers of people could gather and discuss current events and local politics.

Selling fish in a Quebec Market, c. 1845.

Because seafood is quick to spoil, fish markets are historically most often found in seaside towns. Once ice or other simple cooling methods became available, some were also established in large inland cities that had good trade routes to the coast.

Customers in front of the in the market hall of Kotka, Finland, in 1950s.

Since refrigeration and rapid transport became available in the 19th and 20th century, fish markets can technically be established at any place. However, because modern trade logistics in general has shifted away from marketplaces and towards retail outlets, such as supermarkets, most seafood worldwide is now sold to consumers through these venues, like most other foodstuffs.

Consequently, most major fish markets now mainly deal with wholesale trade, and the existing major fish retail markets continue to operate as much for traditional reasons as for commercial ones. Both types of fish markets are often tourist attractions as well.

Notable fish markets

Frozen tuna in the Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo
Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, turning over about 660,000 tonnes a year.[1]

The term fish market can also refer to the process of fish marketing in general, but this article is concerned with physical marketplaces.

Fish markets were known in antiquity.[2] They served as a public space where large numbers of people could gather and discuss current events and local politics.

Selling fish in a Quebec Market, c. 1845.

Because seafood is quick to spoil, fish markets are historically most often found in seaside towns. Once ice or other simple cooling methods became available, some were also established in large inland cities that had good trade routes to the coast.

Customers in front of the in the market hall of Kotka, Finland, in 1950s.

Since refrigeration and rapid transport became available in the 19th and 20th century, fish markets can technically be established at any place. However, because modern trade logistics in general has shifted away from marketplaces and towards retail outlets, such as supermarkets, most seafood worldwide is now sold to consumers through these venues, like most other foodstuffs.

Consequently, most major fish markets now

Because seafood is quick to spoil, fish markets are historically most often found in seaside towns. Once ice or other simple cooling methods became available, some were also established in large inland cities that had good trade routes to the coast.

Customers in front of the in the market hall of Kotka, Since refrigeration and rapid transport became available in the 19th and 20th century, fish markets can technically be established at any place. However, because modern trade logistics in general has shifted away from marketplaces and towards retail outlets, such as supermarkets, most seafood worldwide is now sold to consumers through these venues, like most other foodstuffs.

Consequently, most major fish markets now mainly deal with wholesale trade, and the existing major fish retail markets continue to operate as much for traditional reasons as for commercial ones. Both types of fish markets are often tourist attractions as well.

Notable fish markets

Consequently, most major fish markets now mainly deal with wholesale trade, and the existing major fish retail markets continue to operate as much for traditional reasons as for commercial ones. Both types of fish markets are often tourist attractions as well.

The following is an incomplete list of notable fish markets. (See also a list of fish market articles.)

Operative markets

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