Ocean Auction: How Seoul Gets Its Seafood

While the rest of Seoul sleeps, hundreds of fishermen, restaurant owners and marine wholesalers are together on the 66 000 square meter concrete floor of the Noryangjin Fish Market.

Korea is a country of seafood lovers, and has an insatiable appetite for things from the ocean. From seaweed to squid jerky, if it comes from the water it is probably eaten here. And being surround on three sides by the East China Sea, the Yellow Sea, and the Sea of Japan, means there is an abundant supply. From 15 fishing ports around the country, the biggest and best that Korean fishermen can catch are brought to the Noryangjin market to be sold at auction.

In a frenzy of activity between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., around 400 tonnes of seafood are sold every day in the market, which is open 365 days a year. An amazing place of both vibrant life and systematic death, the Noryangjin Fish Market is worth staying up all night for.

Even at 1:00 a.m. the market is bustling

A fish thrashes as it is offloaded from a transport truck.

Anything that can be caught in the ocean is sold at the Noryangjin market, including sharks

Auctioneers move through the market on flatbed vehicles, selling off thousands of fish in a matter of minutes

Everyone carries a spiked wooden stick for killing and hooking fish

The floors of the market are wet and predictably bloody

A woman watches a price screen, waiting for her chance to bid.

the bidding is intense and over very quickly.

Countless fish meet a swift and unceremonious end on these floors every day.

Nearly 60% of Korea's seafood comes from the Noryangjin market. There is a lot of death in the building.

Recent purchases are gutted and filleted on the spot, for sale moments after death.

Open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, the Noryangjin fish market is always busy.




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