Histories of San Diego's Fisheries & Farms

Interviews with long time fishermen and aquaculturists

Despite recent talk of revitalizing San Diego’s commercial fisheries, the fishing community, as in many other areas, is in decline. The average age of fishermen is over 60 with few to no new recruits into the field. Yet the environmental, health and economic values of maintaining a local fishing industry are potentially high.  What are the barriers to the revitalization and sustainability (stability) of the industry? 

Decisions about fisheries regulation and management, the environment, and local food supply chains often end up being made without heavy involvement of fishermen (for a variety of reasons), yet their stories and points of view offer some of the deepest insights into these issues and their potential solutions. Our goal is, therefore, to identify what the fishermen view as the main barriers or challenges to revitalization of local seafood. Oral histories are an effective way to document local knowledge and information that might otherwise be unheard and eventually lost. Further, videos or transcripts of fishermen’s stories are an effective way of engaging the public and increasing awareness of the issues to help garner political and social support for local industry, resource protection and localization of food supply chains.

In collaboration withrenowned ecologist Paul Dayton and Scripps Master's student Ashleigh Palinkas, we talked with several longtime San Diego fishermen and aquaculaturists asking them to reflect on their lives and careers, on trends they’ve observed in the environment, fishing culture and public perceptions, and on lessons learned in order to inform strategies for revitalization of our local seafood system.   


John La Grange, Fisherman, 03 December 2013

Peter Halmay, Sea urchin fisherman, 04 December 2013  including a special interview of Peter by Anna Talley,  27 September 2014

David Leighton, Aquaculture pioneer, 19 December 2013

Chuck Nicklin, Underwater videographer, 29 January 2014