On April 13, the San Diego Food System Alliance's will present "The Future of Tuna Harbor" at the Port Pavilion on the Broadway Pier. What's this all about?

Well, if you've been following the news you know that the Port of San Diego has been engaged in planning development of the Central Embarcadero. It's a huge undertaking, involving prime waterfront property: 70 acres of land and water between downtown San Diego and the San Diego Bayfront. If you ever go down to Seaport Village or the Hyatt or the USS Midway Museum, you know this area. And it includes the Tuna Harbor, one of San Diego Bay's' few remaining working fishing harbors.

So, what are the plans for commercial fishermen and "aquaculturists?" Will they have a place in the plan the Port selected, known as 1HWY1, which proposes an aquarium, a Spire, street shops and restaurants, water sports, and boating?

If you look at the proposal, it does include a section on the revitalization of the commercial fishing industry with new support facilities for a revitalized Tuna Harbor.

But, of course, this still remains a proposal and it needs approval by the Coastal Commission. Pete Halmay of the Fisherman's Working Group explained that local fishermen formed a steering committee to negotiate with the developer and they've met about 15 times already. "The developers and their team have shown they're listening," he said. "But at the end of the day, what kind of deal will we have? We're trying to integrate fishing into the community. This is a $1.2 billion development and we think at most it would take a couple of million dollars to rejuvenate the Tuna Harbor. We're working on getting an artist's rendering to help people visualize what we're talking about."

What Halmay and his fellow fisherman are talking about is continuing the legacy and tradition of fishing in San Diego in that area, activity that's been going on since the 1900s. They envision a spot that includes offloading facilities, a place to keep ice—basically about 20 elements a working fishing harbor needs to have, not to export seafood, but to teach locals and visitors to San Diego to eat fish and to encourage a new generation to consider fishing for a living.

"It's about having fresh seafood in San Diego. Once local fishing is gone, it's not coming back," Halmay said. "We're worried that the money the developers and Port would get from development could trump culture and history. We think we can show there's a demand and drive for a nice fishing harbor, something that balances development with character."

Hence, this April 13 event, he said, is a call to action for the public so that the developers and the Port can see that San Diegans value this part of their heritage.

So, if you're concerned about the future of the Tuna Harbor and other commercial fishing venues you'll want to attend. "The Future of Tuna Harbor" will run from 2:40 to 7 p.m. and feature a discussion panel including San Diego County First District Supervisor Greg Cox, Kip Howard of Allegis Development (representing the Seaport group selected to develop the area), fisherman Kelly Fukushima, Port Commissioner Vice Chairman Rafael Castellanos, Dr. Theresa Talley of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Shevis Shima of Santa Monica Seafood. The moderator will be inewsource's Brad Racino.

There will also be plenty of food and beverages from:

  • Chefs Davin & Jessica Waite of Wrench & Rodent
  • Chef Rob Ruiz of Land & Water Co
  • Chef Accursio Lota of Solare Ristorante
  • Executive Chef Michael Poompan of Coronado Island Marriott
  • Chef Cindy Quinonez of Scripps Mercy
  • Mike Hess Brewing Co.
  • Golden Coast Mead
  • Bootstrap Kombucha

Along with the discussion panel, the event—for which Edible San Diego is a sponsor—also will offer a presentation of the plan by Howard and a presentation of the fishermen's vision by Fukushima.

Tickets for the forum are $30 per person and can be purchased online. The Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier is located downtown at 1000 North Harbor Drive.

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