Toni Atkins at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market on Saturday. Courtesy Atkins' office
Toni Atkins at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market on Saturday. Courtesy Atkins’ office

With the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market as a backdrop, Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins announced Saturday she will introduce legislation to make it easier for local fish markets to grown and thrive in California.

She said her “Pacific to Plate” legislation would clarify and streamline state laws that currently treat fish markets differently from other food facilities.

“Since the market opened, thousands of San Diegans have enjoyed being able to walk down this pier and choose their next meal from the fresh catch brought ashore by our local fishermen,” she said. “Though the market has been successful, there are still some barriers in state law that need to be overcome to ensure its ongoing operation.”

Atkins was joined by San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox, Port of San Diego Board Chairman Dan Malcolm and local fisherman Peter Halmay.

“San Diego was once the tuna capital of the world,” said Cox. “This bill can help us establish more fishermen’s markets, create more jobs for local fishermen and give San Diegans more fish caught fresh off our waters.”

Atkins’ proposed legislation would:

  • Allow fishermen’s markets to operate as food facilities
  • Allow fresh fish to be cleaned for direct sale at the markets
  • Streamline the permitting process, so commercial fishermen can organize under a single permit

The bill has attracted bipartisan support from San Diego’s state legislative delegation. Assemblymembers Rocky Chavez, Brian Jones, Brian Maienschein, Marie Waldron and Shirley Weber are co-sponsoring the bill, along with state Senators Joel Anderson, Patricia Bates, Marty Block and Ben Hueso.

San Diego’s Tuna Harbor market has been a success since its Aug. 2 opening, drawing 350 visitors a week who spend about $15,000 weekly on fresh seafood brought directly to the pier by local fishermen.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.