On Saturday, Sept. 7, USD Professor Adina Batnitzky, PhD, and Theresa Talley, PhD, from Sea Grant Extension Program based at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (UCSD) hosted an event at San Diego Bay Ruocco Park. The event was part of a scientific study to gauge the feasibility of dockside fish markets in San Diego, and raise awareness about the local fishing industry.
The specific locovores that brought about the study are those that make up the East African Community in San Diego. Batnitzky (pictured, right) has worked closely with the United Women of East African Community Cultural Center and discussed their changing diet as a result of migration. Upon sharing her experiences, Talley’s first question was does this community eat a lot of fish? Despite mainly being from coastal Somalia, the answer is no and the reason is limited access to sustainable local seafood.
San Diego boasts many farmers markets and community-backed agriculture programs, however, San Diego does not have a single fish market in a city with 70 miles of pristine Pacific coastline. As a result, many fishermen have taken to selling their catch right from their docked boats. Batnitzky’s goal is to raise awareness of the issue and to establish a sustainable local fish demand in San Diego.
While Batnitzky is focused on the people involved, Talley is most interested in the health of the ocean. She believes a more diverse pull of fish may improve both the fishing industry in San Diego, and the ecology of our ocean. Of the collaboration, Batnitzky says “Our overlapping interests seemed like an ideal interdisciplinary project!”
There are currently two dockside fish markets proposed for San Diego Bay: one near Tuna Harbor and one at Driscoll’s Wharf. Saturday’s event was part of the study to evaluate the demand for local fish and shellfish among “locovores,” people already on board with the slow-food movement, and the city’s East African community, which is interested in reconnecting with its traditional, healthy dietary habits.
Besides collecting market demand data, the researchers hoped to increase public awareness of the local seafood industry and seafood products. The event featured chef stations to showcase the variety of local seafood and information booths for people to interact with scientists, nutritionists, fishermen and aquaculturists.
Researchers also surveyed the downtown and uptown San Diego community (~75-100 residents).
Read a brief summary of the seafood market feasibility study.
— Melissa Wagoner and Kevin Wright ‘13