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Only in the Bronx: Fishmongers vie for the best catch in dead of night

John Minchillo / AP

A fishmonger tosses a halibut onto a table at the Fulton Fish Market, on March 29, 2013, in New York. The Fulton Fish Market, located in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx, is the world's largest after Tokyo. In this football-field size refrigerated building, time and money are measured in thousand-dollar pieces of salmon whose price-for-quality is negotiated on the spot. The product goes to the buyer instantly and is trucked to restaurants or retail vendors.

John Minchillo / AP

Fishmongers ply their trade on the floor of the Fulton Fish Market, on March 29, 2013, in New York.

Think Wall Street trading is brutal? Head up to the grittiest part of the South Bronx, where cutthroat deals are made in the dead of night on a massive concrete floor that reeks of fish guts.

The New Fulton Fish Market is the nation's largest seafood market, and second in the world to Tokyo's. Here, in a refrigerated building the size of six football fields, fishmongers are frenetically filleting, selling and packaging seafood — 200 million pounds a year worth close to $1 billion by some estimates. It is headed for restaurant tables, stores and mouths across America.

Glistening under the fluorescent lights is just about every sea creature. Most come in by truck, but about half are flown in from the ends of the Earth: Arctic char from Iceland; mahi-mahi from Ecuador; hamachi from Japan; branzino from Greece; salmon from Scotland; cockles from New Zealand.

Experienced buyers negotiate prices in seconds, judging quality on a look, a touch, a smell and often a raw taste.

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Editor's note: Photos taken on March 29 and made available to NBC News today.

John Minchillo / AP

A fishmonger peels the spine from a tuna at the Fulton Fish Market, on March 29, 2013, in New York.

John Minchillo / AP

Roberto Nunez, a buyer for multiple high-end New York establishments, including Eataly Gourmet Food Market, places an order at the Fulton Fish Market, on March 29, 2013, in New York.

John Minchillo / AP

Fresh fish rest in ice while awaiting purchase at the Fulton Fish Market, on March 29, 2013, in New York.