As the sun rises over Honolulu, commercial fishermen have already unloaded their catches and docked their boats for the day. The fish are lined up on pallets, packed in ice and displayed for buyers to inspect.

United Fishing Agency holds the country's largest daily fish auction, selling fresh fish to the highest bidders based on market value and quality. Most of the buyers are wholesalers, but some local restaurants and markets also buy their fish directly off the boat.

In many parts of the world, commercial fishermen sell directly to wholesalers, who dictate the price. But at the Honolulu Fish Auction, fishermen can get better prices based on the quality of their fish, with bidding wars often happening.

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Jessica Hathaway is the former editor in chief of National Fisherman.

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