Understanding the Demand for Local Seafood to Improve Accessibility Throughout an Urban San Diego

Crystal Chan
Publication Date

This publication is a Bachelor thesis completed with UCSD Environmental Systems Program (ESYS) and California Sea Grant in summer 2020.

California Sea Grant Publication Number CASG-2020-004


The availability of local seafood in San Diego is largely limited to the coastline, indicating that inland communities may not be accessing the wealth of fresh seafood landed within San Diego. Tuna Harbor Dockside Market (abbreviated as THDM) provides access to sustainably-sourced seafood that was landed within San Diego. However, the extent that local seafood reaches all communities in San Diego through coastal outlets such as this market is not well understood. This study investigates the racial-ethnic and geographic demographics of the visitors to THDM, their seafood preferences at THDM and at other markets, and whether factors like time of day and weather affected visitation patterns at THDM. In-person surveys were conducted during market hours from November 2019 to March 2020, then analyzed using descriptive statistics and Chi Square Goodness of Fit. The visitors at THDM were found to be disproportionately Asian and White-identifying, but geographically visitors were distributed all across San Diego County. Asian visitors were found to prefer non-mainstream seafood products like whole fish, crab, and snails. White visitors prefered filleted fish and, from other markets, smoked seafood products. Black and Latinx visitors seemed to prefer buying seafood at other markets. THDM was also found to be valuable to the tourism industry as tourists composed approximately 15% of the visitors surveyed. Weather patterns and time of day also affected the proportions of groups represented, as visitation patterns by each racial-ethnic group varied depending on time of day and weather conditions.