Chaoyang wet market (朝阳街市) is the place to go for fresh seafood in Zhuhai, as Gongbei’s wet market (not to be confused with the Underground Market) is more about meat and livestock.
Located at the Xiangzhou District (香洲; Xiāngzhōu), it is one of those areas of the city where there is a permanent and bustling business activity, with improvised posts, a constant swarm of customers, beggars, movers and passers-by round the clock, but specially in the morning.
This market supplies both wholesale to restaurants as well as families going there every day, but if you really want to get the best price for freshly netted seafood, as well as to test your Chinese skills, you can go to the docks at Yelidao Island (野狸岛), where the traditional fishermen boats pull up and unload their cargo, and buy straight to them.
The term “wet market” comes from the use (and abuse) of water in these kind of markets. It is used to wash the floors, keep the fruits and vegetables fresh with a nice layer of droplets on it, and overall, to keep fish, shellfish, and other seafood alive. As said in a previous post, in certain areas of China, specially in Guangzhou, freshness is preferred even over the welfare of the animals, sometimes to the point to have the animals and fish being butchered and skinned alive.
Animals are kept alive as long as possible, as the slaughter and butchering have historically been performed in front of customers at their request to ensure the freshness of the purchase.
The traditional reason for this freshness obsession is that, before the advent of refrigeration, and having those regions a hot climate, buying a living animal just before to be butchered was the only way to be sure about its freshness, thus avoiding health problems.