Open-Air Fish Market Coming to San Diego

The new open-air fish market will open to the public for the first time on Aug. 2, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Fish Harbor Pier

With a picturesque waterfront already in place, San Diego will soon have its very own open-air fish market reminiscent of other similar markets around the U.S., including Seattle’s Pike Place Market.

The plan, spearheaded by County Supervisor Greg Cox, was announced Wednesday. Cox said the Dockside Fish Market at the Downtown Waterfront will set up shop at the Fish Harbor Pier, near Tuna Harbor between the USS Midway Museum and Seaport Village.

There, the pier will transform into an open-air fish market featuring pop-up canopies, tables and lots of fresh, local catches for sale.

The market will open to the public for the first time on Aug. 2, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. After that, it will be held at that location every Saturday morning for the next year or so.

For now, the plan is for fishing boats to pull into the harbor and unload their catches onto the pier, which could include fish, lobster, urchins, crab and whatever else they’ve caught in local waters. The fishermen will have to pay a vendor fee to be able to sell their goods at the market, but that dollar amount has not been set just yet.

Cox said the new seaside marketplace will not only give consumers a great deal on fresh fish, it will also bring business to local fishermen.

“There are still a number of commercial fisherman that are out there, they're working really hard, they're bringing their catch in on a daily basis, they're turning it over to fish markets at a wholesale price," said Cox.

"This will give them an opportunity to certainly get a higher price than they would at a wholesale fish market. But at the same time, it's going to be a great bargain for the citizens of San Diego. They will know that it's the freshest fish they can possibly get," he continued.

Zachary Roach is a partner for the open-air market and says his father, a commercial fisherman, has been catching rock crab for 20 years, yet the wholesale price hasn't changed.

"It hasn't fluctuated in giving him more money for the 20 years. But now we can, rather than sell wholesale, we can sell it here for a chunk of money and still be selling it for cheaper than what they would at retail or at a grocery store, so the consumer is getting the better rate too,” said Roach.

Employees of a nearby seafood market told NBC 7 they support the new open-air concept and hope the fishermen do well.

As for locals and tourists, many say they’re looking forward to buying fresh seafood on the harbor.

“I would totally support it – I think that’d be great to support local fishermen,” said San Diegan Brandi Skinner.

Gloria Simon, a tourist visiting from Utah, said she’d certainly check out the marketplace.

“I think it’s a great idea because I love the Seattle Pike’s Market,” she told NBC 7.

Little Italy resident Sarah Johnson said the fish market will likely become one of her go-to shopping spots for seafood.

“It’s convenient just to walk down here and get the fresh fish right off the market and bring it home. I would be a No.1 supporter of that, definitely,” said Johnson.

A proposal to promote the market will be heard for the Board of Supervisors at a July 29 meeting. Meanwhile, Cox will continue to show his support for the open-air fish market in America’s Finest City.

"Seattle is famous for its Pike Place Fish Market," said Cox. "There's no reason San Diego, with its vibrant waterfront, busy fishing fleets and great year-round weather, can't have our own open air fish market."

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