San Diego, California - County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to look for ways to improve state laws to allow more open-air fresh fish markets - and to promote fish markets as part of the County’s Live Well San Diego initiative.
The Board’s vote came less than two weeks after Supervisor Greg Cox, working with Unified Port of San Diego officials and the County Department of Environmental Health (DEH), helped a small group of local fishermen get a permit to run an open-air fish market on Port property.
The new market is scheduled to open for the first time Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Fish Harbor Pier in downtown San Diego, between Seaport Village and the USS Midway Museum.
Cox said the market would become the first open-air seafood market in San Diego - a port that was once the commercial tuna fishing capital of the world - in “many, many years.”
“Clearly, there is public demand for access to a locally-caught, sustainable source of fresh seafood,” Cox said Tuesday. “Residents have been meeting fishermen on their boats for years to buy fresh fish. Now with DEH permits in hand, these fishermen will be able to set up their dockside tables to sell whole fish directly to consumers.”
Peter Halmay, president of the San Diego Fishermen’s Working Group, told the Board the fishermen’s desires involved “a lot more than just selling fish.”
He said they had three objectives: restore the culture and heritage of fishing in San Diego; create a way for the county’s fishermen to work together; and to restore the connection between the community and the waterfront, and by extension, the ocean.
The Board’s vote directed County staff to look for legislative ideas to improve California’s Health and Safety Code to accommodate open-air, fresh-catch seafood markets and bring them back to the Board for consideration within the next six months.