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Open-Air Seafood Market Coming To San Diego Bay

A boat docked in San Diego Bay near the USS Midway Museum, July 16, 2014.

Aired 7/16/14 on KPBS News.

A new open-air seafood market has won approval from San Diego County and will open Aug. 2.

A new open-air fish market will open near Seaport Village on Aug. 2. There, fishermen can sell fresh fish such as crab, yellowtail and lobster — depending on the season — at tables set up on the dock.

The market comes after more than a year of work to get the necessary permits. The fishermen had been selling from a boat that's docked between the USS Midway Museum and Seaport Village, but wanted to move their makeshift market from sea to land. They formed a company called Tuna Harbor Dockside Market last summer, but ran into bureaucratic barriers.

Their struggles were documented on the online news site Voice of San Diego. When San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox read the story, he said he decided to take action.

He worked with San Diego County's Department of Environmental Health to get the fishermen a one-year permit to sell their fish, and with the Port of San Diego to get a permit to operate on a pier at 535 Harbor Lane, said Cox's spokesman Luis Monteagudo Jr.

Cox announced the market opening at a press conference Wednesday.

"We cast out a long reel, hoping to get a big catch, and today I'm pleased to announce that we landed a whopper," he said. "We expect soon to have a bustling popular market right here on our downtown waterfront that will offer local freshly caught seafood."

Cox said the market will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. beginning next month.

The next step is for Cox to bring a proposal to the county supervisors meeting on July 29 to find a more permanent solution for the market, Monteagudo said. As a temporary fix, the county's health department gave the fishermen the same type of permit used by farmers' markets.

Last year, a University of San Diego and Scripps Institution of Oceanography study found San Diegans were willing to pay more and drive farther to buy fish straight from a fisherman.

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