HOME > Chowhound > Greater Seattle >
Do you create unique foods? Get great advice

throwing fish: not a good thing for quality

stratford Apr 14, 2013 01:12 PM

Has anyone ever considered that throwing the fish as they do at Pike Place Market as a spectacle for the tourists would damage the quality of the fish? Such rough handling of the flesh would not make me want to buy fish from a place that handles it in such a manner. Anyone else ever think this after seeing the performance?

  1. q
    Quintious Apr 22, 2013 09:09 AM

    There are plenty of reasons to not buy from the fish throwers. Their prices are the highest for seafood of any place in the market in spite of having the exact same fish as everybody else when that fish is in season. They've gone to this "we only do sustainable!" model, which is all well and good - but it oftentimes means what they're selling you is previously frozen fish as opposed to fresh like everyone else in the market - except they're selling it at beyond-fresh prices.

    Not buying from them because they throw a stunt fish? Not a reason, however.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Quintious
      RandyB Apr 22, 2013 09:20 AM

      Quintious, are you sure they are misrepresenting their frozen fish as "fresh"? I know that all the PPM fishmongers try to use euphemisms for frozen, but that's different from outright misreps.

      For myself, I have to admit I have not bought fresh or frozen fish from anyone at the PPM in years. I go to Pike Place Fish (the thrower guys) for their smoked King Salmon to take with me when I visit friends. I like the softer level of smoking and mild saltiness that their supplier provides. It is also clearly marked when it's wild or (less often) farm raised. Of course, I can't easily verify the truth of the labeling. It is harder to tell the difference when smoked than when fresh or frozen.

      1. re: RandyB
        Quintious Apr 22, 2013 10:27 AM

        I never said "misrepresented". I was stating "mispriced".

        Let's take salmon as a prime example: Towards the end of last year's season, they stopped buying it fresh and started selling stuff that had a little sticker on it that said "previously frozen". This apparently because total salmon fished levels had reached some arbitrary point that broke their "sustainability" metrics (ignoring for the moment that salmon is heavily monitored for sustainability already). Every other fishmonger in the market was still sending tail-end of the season fresh salmon.

        And OK fine, previously frozen isn't "bad", per se, but when you're still charging the exact same price you were charging when it was fresh off the boat earlier in the season (a price that is already the highest of anywhere in the market due to their location within the market and the tourist attraction factor), that's kind of lame.

        I typically buy my fish from Mutual Fish down on South Rainier, but do occasionally buy from PPM - just never from the throwers unless I have a LivingSocial deal, because their prices have a tourist tax built into them I don't want to pay.

      2. re: Quintious
        dkcaudill May 27, 2013 10:49 AM

        I don't buy from them because I've never seen their prices. Because there's a wall of people in front of them, and plenty of other folks selling perfectly good seafood nearby.

      3. Veggo Apr 15, 2013 06:01 AM

        It adds a new twist to "catch and release".

        1. Beach Chick Apr 14, 2013 10:04 PM

          We dubbed them the surly fishmongers.
          After watching these fish throwing tools, it was apparent to us and others that they hated putting on the show, with disdain for the crowd.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Beach Chick
            RandyB Apr 22, 2013 12:04 AM

            I've watched those guy for 30+ years. I've always thought they had fun, and always found them very friendly. In fact, they made some good money writing a book and giving seminars on enjoying your work, whatever it is.

            As for the throwing, I'm with kaleokahu on that. I'd be a lot more worried about the fish handling on boats and docks that you don't ever see (I have) than what the guys at PPM do pretty carefully in front of your eyes.

          2. k
            kaleokahu Apr 14, 2013 08:37 PM

            Hi, stratford:

            IMO, if it's missed or dropped, there might be a problem, but if the catcher has good hands, the "spectacles" I've seen at PPM won't damage the fish.

            By the time you see it, that fish (and every other for sale) has already been gaffed, clubbed, thrown into at least one tank/hold, tumbled out, slid along a grading table, flopped into a bin, tossed onto ice, flopped again to be cleaned, and flopped yet again to be broken and displayed. Most times in that order.

            Are you worried about your eggs getting jostled from henhouse to your local market? You should see what happens to your beef on the killfloor.


            1. v
              venice4504 Apr 14, 2013 08:05 PM

              It's a stunt fish.

              1. t
                Tom34 Apr 14, 2013 01:53 PM

                If you follow through with the catch (move your hands / arms in the same direction the fish was moving it gently slows the fish down and does not hurt it.

                1. Veggo Apr 14, 2013 01:36 PM

                  Throwing them is still preferable to launching them from catapults.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Veggo
                    kaleokahu Apr 14, 2013 08:40 PM

                    Hey Veggo:

                    Don't knock salmon a la trebuchet until you've tried it...


                  2. j
                    jlhinwa Apr 14, 2013 01:19 PM

                    I am pretty sure that they have "stunt fish" and they don't handle all of their product in that manner.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: jlhinwa
                      scubadoo97 Apr 14, 2013 01:49 PM

                      That's what I've heard.

                      1. re: jlhinwa
                        firecracker Apr 14, 2013 02:08 PM

                        They throw the same fish time and time again. The tossed fish never make it to anyone's table.

                        1. re: firecracker
                          jlbwendt Apr 14, 2013 04:30 PM

                          And then they freeze it and donate them to Woodland Park Zoo.

                          1. re: jlbwendt
                            melissa1 Apr 15, 2013 09:57 AM

                            Great! I knew they were stunt fish, but I didn't know they donated them to the critters! That's fantastic. And they really are nice guys. Helpful and informative. Sure, they probably get tired of the show they need to put on for the tourists, but so would I.

                      Show Hidden Posts