The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard on a lot of people including food providers like fishermen and families struggling to make ends meet and secure healthy food. When the pandemic first hit, the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market, the Saturday fishermen’s market on San Diego Bay, was overwhelmed. Larger than usual crowds formed outside the market and fishermen were not only tasked with selling their fresh catch, but also ensuring compliance with public health regulations. This included developing a system to limit the number of people on the market pier, and to ensure that everyone was practicing social distancing and wearing masks while in line outside the market or at the market.

Image: Theresa Sinicrope Talley.

It was chaotic and overwhelming until Chuck Hoar stepped up. While visiting his son, Cal Pedroli, who was working the sea urchin booth, Hoar saw that he could provide much-needed assistance. In the coming weeks, Hoar served as the gatekeeper, crowd controller, amicable enforcer, and tour guide. The lines were long and people were waiting for over an hour to get into the market.

Chuck Hoar designed and printed over 200 fliers every week at his own expense to help inform seafood consumers at the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.

Many customers were coming to the market for the first time and didn’t know what to expect. Hoar took care of them. He explained the purpose of the market, how it operated, where they could find what they were looking for, and all the while reminded them about staying safe.  As Hoar realized that he was answering the same questions over and over, he designed and printed 200 fliers every week that showed the layout of the market, the fish that were available each week, and the Covid-19 guidelines—at his own expense.

The system that Hoar helped to put in place at the market is still in use today keeping everyone safe and the market orderly and efficient. In appreciation of his selfless acts of generosity in helping both the fishermen and customers of the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market in a time of need, the fishermen of the market acknowledge Hoar as a fishing community hero and will award him a whole tuna. (Among the highest of honors, in my opinion!)

As health guidelines loosen, the fishermen of Tuna Harbor Dockside Market will continue offering their fresh, healthy catch  to San Diego every Saturday. A silver lining of the Covid-19 restrictions has been the rapid development of creative ways to strengthen our local food system and increase public access to sustainable local catch.

“The pandemic has brought double the number of San Diegans to the market each week to buy fish to cook at home rather than at a restaurant. Chuck and the fishermen have helped them select their fish and given tips on how to prepare it. People seem to really enjoy the experience and this new idea may last after the pandemic is done.” says Peter Halmay, president of the San Diego Fishermen's Working Group and co-owner of the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.

Access to locally sourced seafood through Tuna Harbor Dockside Market and other fishermen’s markets such as the Friday market at Driscoll’s Wharf is as easy, efficient, and safe as ever because of the advancements made during the pandemic. San Diego’s fishermen and their families welcome the support of the community as they continue to provide fresh local seafood to San Diego. If you are interested in helping or supporting them, please stop by.


Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

Open every Saturday from 8am–1pm on the Market St. Pier

598 Harbor Ln.

Driscoll’s Wharf Market

Open every Friday from 8am–4pm

4918 N Harbor Dr.

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About the Contributor
Theresa Sinicrope Talley
Theresa Sinicrope Talley is a coastal extension specialist with California Sea Grant based at UC San Diego.