It’s a far cry from Pike’s Place Market — Seattle’s bustling, fish-throwing seafood mecca — but buying local rockfish, sea urchin, crabs and more directly from San Diego fishermen is about to get a whole lot easier.
Less than one month after we wrote about a group of local commercial fishermen’s struggle to secure a seafood market of their own, County Supervisor Greg Cox and Unified Port of San Diego Chairman Bob Nelson announced Wednesday that permits have been issued, and San Diego’s Tuna Harbor Dockside Market will open for business on Fish Harbor Pier Aug. 2.
“For about a year they told us it couldn’t be done,” said Peter Halmay, a local sea urchin diver who’s president of the San Diego Fishermen’s Working Group. “And then we met with Supervisor Cox and the chairman from the Port, and within two weeks it was done.”
As a workaround, Halmay and others have been selling their catches off a boat docked in the harbor.
Cox, wearing his best fish-themed tie, managed to work an impressive number of fish puns into the announcement, including “casting a long reel” “hoping to get a big catch” and “we landed a whopper.”
In addition to helping the fishermen secure a permanent home, Cox said he was also prompted by the health benefits a fresh local seafood market will provide to San Diego residents. Americans eat less than 15 pounds of seafood a year (compared with nearly 70 pounds of poultry, and 100 pounds of beef), and a recent FDA/EPA announcement encouraged pregnant women to quadruple the amount of seafood they consume. Cox says the new fish market will help increase seafood consumption, bolstering the county’s LiveWell San Diego initiative.
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It's about time!!! How could we possibly be America's Finest City without a fish market? Though I don't want it to smell like the good old days when we had a huge tuna fleet, I do want the choice of going down and picking up some fresh fish and hopefully some fresh shrimp too! We had ignored the fishermen for way too long and have not been sincere to our past. I hope we have a great big market that has fish all sorts of ways, maybe incorporate fresh produce and tortillas too. Anticipation grows!!
I think Shelter Island area would be better because of parking. I want to go down and buy some fish but where am I going to park on the weekend? Just saying. I hope they prove me wrong or maybe set up some sort of charcoal grill etc. similar to Ports O Call in San Pedro. I just can't see myself driving down on the weekend searching for paid parking to buy expensive fresh fish. Grill it for me with some tortillas etc. I might bite!
@Craig Carter Parking at Tuna Harbor on Saturday mornings is not difficult if you get there early enough to get the best fish. Only after the Fish Market Restaurant opens and the Midway gets pumping does the area see a lot of traffic (I live near there). Also, can take the trolley to the Seaport Village stop.
Congratulations to Zach for getting this done. His fish is the best and he's been hoping to get this started for a long time.
@Craig Carter A primary reason for this location is the pre-existing pier. Park at the G St. Mole or the smaller lot just south of the Mole or the spaces on Pacific Hwy by Ruocco Park. There's also a small lot to the right before you enter the pay-parking at the foot of Pacific Hwy. Early morning is the best time both to park and to buy fish.
Another example of leadership by Supervisor Greg Cox. A project everyone desired -- caught in limbo -- is now ready to go because County Health and Port District staff made it a priority to help the fishermen deal with the complicated requirements involved. To the County Health Department and Port of San Diego staff: congratulations for a job well done in service to the public.