After struggling with red tape and permitting procedures for more than a year, San Diego commercial fisherman have hooked the big one – an open-air fish market that will open next month.
Last fall, California Sea Grant Extension Specialist Theresa Talley and University of San Diego professor Dr. Adina Batnitzky conducted a feasibility study to determine demand for a dockside fish market in the region. The researchers found that most participants were willing to drive 15 to 30 minutes, visit monthly or more frequently, and even pay 10% or more if they could buy seafood directly from a fisherman.
Though the demand for dockside markets exists, the commercial fishermen ran into roadblocks in the permitting process. To ensure compliance with public health rules, the county ordered the fishermen to obtain a farmer’s market permit. However, this proved to be a challenge because fishermen aren’t considered farmers. The project seemed tied up in bureaucratic limbo.
On Wednesday, County Supervisor Greg Cox and the Unified Port of San Diego announced that permits have been issued and the dockside market will open for business on Aug. 2 at the Tuna Harbor Pier, near Seaport Village.
“The opening of this dockside market is very exciting. It means better access to fresh, healthy, sustainable seafood for San Diego’s public, more opportunities for San Diego’s struggling fishing and aquaculture communities, and a heightened appreciation of San Diego’s diverse marine resources.” said Talley.