San Diego Seafood: Then and Now

Project Number
Project Date Range
Focus Area(s)
Education, Training and Public Information, Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture

A Cookbook for Institutional and At-Home Chefs that tracks the history of fishing in san diego while demystifying local seafood

See our sample chapter here!

While the final book design may be very different, we hope the sample chapter gives a little flavor of the book ingredients.

What this book is all about

This cookbook is a collaboration among Sea Grant, NOAA Fisheries, local chefs, fishermen, historians, and Sunbelt Publications to create two cookbooks: one for institutional chefs, and one for at-home chefs, both of which feature local, fresh seafood. The goal is to provide recipes and seafood tips that showcase a) the stunning diversity and flavors of San Diego’s responsibly-sourced seafood, b) the long and rich history of fishing and seafood in San Diego, and c) ideas for maximizing the use of the whole fish for less-waste kitchens at the industrial level. This cookbook will provide place-based recipes that celebrate the cultural diversity of San Diego’s past and present, and will also include fishery information and fun science facts about each species, as well as brief profiles of contributing chefs and fishermen.

Are you a chef interested in contributing a recipe?

Interested in sponsoring the production of this book?

Want to find out more? Keep reading!

Why an institutional cookbook?

The importance of local food sources in maintaining food security throughout international tariffs and pandemics has recently been highlighted, even magnified. Direct producer to consumer sales have ensured that fresh, safe, healthy protein continues to make it onto the plates of many households. However, the most vulnerable people- the homeless, low-income families, and seniors- have faced worsening food insecurity with no access or means to afford direct food sources. At the front lines of food insecurity are institutional meal services- struggling to connect masses of the food insecure to healthy, fresh, local foods. Our hope is to offer this cookbook free of charge to institutional kitchens to help bridge that gap through increased awareness of local seafood and fishermen, guidance from professionals like you for the acquisition, safe handling and preparation of local seafood, and strengthened connections within our community.

Why an at-home cookbook?

The same food service disruptions caused by tariffs and the pandemic have impacted families, who have become increasingly reliant on local food sources. Our hope is to also strengthen connections between the general public and our sustainable seafood system in San Diego. Furthermore, we hope that the sales of the at-home cookbook can offset at least some of the expenses incurred in the publishing and distribution of the free institutional cookbooks.

Interested chefs: Here's what we're looking for:

Two versions of a San Diego-focused seafood recipe: one for ca. 50 people and the same recipe scaled down for home cooking (around 6-8 people). Because this cookbook is focused on both San Diego’s seafood and fishing history, we ask that your recipes feature San Diego-sourced seafood (some suggestions are listed below) and be from or inspired by one or more of the major Fishing Groups (also listed below). For a brief overview of San Diego’s fishing history, visit here.

San Diego Sourced Seafood- Some examples are listed here or check out typical landings posted each week on the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market FB page or website.

Albacore tuna

Yellowfin tuna Rockfish

Mahi Mahi/Dorado

Bigeye tuna Opah California halibut Yellowtail
Bluefin tuna Swordfish Black Cod/Sablefish Rock crab
Sheep crab Mako shark Soupfin shark Thresher shark

Fishing Groups- We ask that your recipe should come from or be inspired by one of the following major groups in San Diego's fishing history.

  • Kumeyaay
  • Spanish
  • Mexican
  • Chinese
  • Portugese
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Modern (ex: Pacific Islander, Filipino, East African, Korean, Vietnamese, Fusion cuisine--we also welcome your suggestions for "modern")


We are looking for funding sources to sponsor the production of this book. Estimated costs range from $15,000 to $20,000. California Sea Grant and the cookbook editors wish to donate any proceeds from the sale of this book to Fish to Families - San Diego or other charitable meal organizations.
Sponsorship Levels

$50 — Northern Anchovy Illustration of a northern anchovy $1,000 — Sablefish A group of fish swimmingDescription automatically generated with low confidence

$100 — Pacific Mackerel Illustration of a Pacific Mackerel $1,500 — Opah Illustration of an Opah

$500 — Rockfish Canary rockfish illustration. ≥$2,000 — Albacore tuna Illustration of a Pacific Albacore Tuna

To give, please visit California Sea Grant’s Give Now page (; Please note “SD Seafood Then and Now” in the special instructions.

Thank you for considering this project and please contact us at if you’d like additional information.

Your cookbook team,
Theresa Talley, Sarah Shoffler, Cindy Quiñonez, Neva Sullaway, Ana Sofia Bermudez Rioseco



N. SD Seafood 3.21.2022.pdf

Principal Investigators
profile photo of Theresa Sinicrope Talley Theresa Sinicrope Talley
University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography