reeling it in
I love the Sydney Fish Market although it is not particularly lovable. It’s
a bit smelly, and more than a little scru≠y. Pelicans and ibis have joined
the throngs of marauding seagulls as they pick through the garbage and
throw fries around (figure
c.1). It sits between two concrete manufacturing
factories overlooking Blackwattle Bay—which looks pretty murky at the
moment. But it bustles with fish and people. It is the largest fish market
in the southern hemisphere and one of the biggest in the world, although
you wouldn’t think so to look at it. At 4:30 in the morning, buyers start
specting the wares at the wholesale side of the market. The auction starts
at 5:30
am. There are six hundred registered buyers, who buy sixty- five
tons of fish and seafood each day, except Christmas Day, the one and only
day of the year that the market closes. Some of the fish will go to the top-
end restaurants, and some to small fishmongers in suburban shopping
ters. Most of it goes to the large family- owned outfits like de Costi’s and
During normal hours, the market brings together ordinary shoppers like
me and masses of tourists. Buses disgorge tourists mainly from China. The
Sydney Fish Market features highly on mainland Chinese organized group
tours of Sydney. As you walk into the market, which is like one long corri-
dor with shops and stalls on either side, it can at times feel like you’re part
of a king tide of bodies all searching for the best fish. People often don’t
get farther than the first shop. Large fish tanks: the crustaceans try to hide
behind each other. Abalones the size of soup plates are plastered against the
tanks, trying to escape. You choose what you want, and with some fanfare
Previous Page Next Page