Who harvests seafood from San Diego Bay, and why?
Results of recent interactions with recreational pier fishers in San Diego Bay
From the summer of 2018 through the spring of 2019, our team (photos at the bottom of this page) frequently visited three public fishing piers in San Diego Bay - Shelter Island, Embarcadero, and Pepper Park (see map) - to survey seafood harvesters in order to get a sense of the motivations behind seafood harvest in the bay.
Embarcadero pier on a Tuesday morning in October (top); Pepper Park pier on a Saturday morning in January (middle); Shelter Island pier on a Wednesday night in October (bottom).
Patterns of Fishing
The majority of the fishers we encountered were using rod and reel to catch fish (see graphs below). Much less common, yet of interest to us, were shellfish harvesters, most of whom primarily targeted California spiny lobster using hoopnets. Of the 61 shellfish harvester interviews we conducted, 50 were from the Fall, during the first few months of recreational lobster season (September 29, 2018 - March 20, 2019).
Shelter Island Pier was the most popular for lobster hoopnetting, followed by Embarcadero and Pepper Park, where we only encountered one hoopnetter during our year of surveying (see graphs below). Hoopnetting usually occurred at night and was generally more popular in the Fall (vs. Winter), closer to the start of lobster season. On average, hoopnetting parties consisted of 1-2 people, with a total of 1-2 nets per party.
Hoopnetters were always outnumbered by rod and reel fishermen, who were most active in the Summer (least in Winter), and on weekends (vs. weekdays). On average, rod and reel fishing parties consisted of about 2 people, with a total of 2-3 rods per party.
Stay tuned for more information on the results of our surveys with shellfish harvesters!