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January 17, 2013 at 9:23 PM

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Fish tossing for show only


ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

It's the most expensive monkfish in the world, at right, and one-of-a-kind. The monkfish used to surprise visitors at the Pike Place Fish Market -- when a worker pulls a concealed string attached to its tail -- has been replaced with a silicone fish made locally for about $2,000. This fish market, under the clock in the Market, changed to sustainable-only species two years ago and quit carrying real monkfish "because of the way it's caught, which harms the sea floor," according to Chris Bell, the sustainability officer at the stand. The "flying-fish" schtick involves tossing and catching mainly salmon, which Bell, above, does with a chum one-handed, so the product sold to customers isn't bruised. The tossed chum are given to Woodland Park Zoo and Wolf Haven, he said.

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