Patrons line up awaiting the opening of Tuna Harbor Dockside Market on December 5, 2015
A group of local fishermen and others in the food industry gathered downtown on Monday afternoon (December 7) to celebrate the passage of a new state law aimed at helping establish dockside fish markets in California.
Dubbed the "Pacific to Plate" bill, AB 226 was sponsored by state Assembly speaker Toni Atkins. According to a release from the San Diego Food System Alliance, the bill "allows fishermen's markets to operate as food facilities, vendors to clean their fish for direct sale, and multiple fishermen to organize a market under a single permit."
A pilot market has been running on Saturdays at the northern entrance to Seaport Village since August 2014, and local participants that have been involved in crafting the bill are optimistic.
"I see one [opening] in Ventura, Santa Barbara, Half Moon Bay — all of them have some form of market. All of these fishermen will be able to look at this legislation and say, 'Hey, we exist,'" said Peter Halmay, a member of the working group that helped craft the bill's language.
The new law takes effect January 1, though the local market, which on a recent Saturday was offering several varieties of fish along with live sea urchin and crabs, will continue operations as usual.