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From boat to table: Local fish market comes to Port San Luis in Avila Beach

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Posted at 9:41 PM, Jan 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 17:24:09-05

Central Coast fishermen are selling their catch of the day after the Dungeness crab season was delayed for weeks.

Local commercial fisherman and the Port San Luis Harbor District have created a Fisherman's Market Pilot Program, located in Port San Luis for fisherman to sell their fresh catch directly off the boat to the public.

"We got a halibut, it was about nine pounds and two Dungeness crab. We will have quite the feast," Arroyo Grande resident Toni Aelly said.

San Luis Obispo residents, Corrie Arellano and Javon Mejls, also scored a catch from Sunday's fish market.

"We got three live crabs that we are going to cook up tonight and a whole halibut," Arrellano said.

The start of Dungeness Crab season was delayed for weeks due to whale protection and then a pricing dispute.

Tom Capen, a commercial fisherman, said the pilot program will offer new business opportunities.

"[The San Luis Harbor Patrol District] gave us a place to retail our catch to the public since COVID and since we lost all three retail fish markets on the pier over the last few year," Capen said.

Fishermen have had to come up with creative ways to sell fresh fish to the community.

"We finally got a spot a the end of the pier and the enthusiasm is great. When I showed up yesterday with the crab I was supposed to open at 1 p.m. and there was a line of 15 people waiting for me," Capen said.

Fisherman Danny Morton is selling California Halibut at the market and said it's a great place to go if you are looking for locally caught fish.

"They don't have to search for it, they can come directly to the fisherman, know where it comes from, how it was caught, when it was caught and who it is benefiting," Morton said.

The Port San Luis Harbor District has been in favor of the Fisherman's Market Pilot Program. In a staff report back in April they wrote:

"The Harbor District is supportive of the Commercial Fishing Industry and has received several requests over the years for some type of Fishermen’s Market, where the Commercial Fishermen sells his/her own product. "

Locals are also ready to start putting money back into the local economy.

"Not only do we like our fish fresh, but these fisherman are normally selling to restaurants who aren't able to be buying right now either. So we are trying to support our local economy in any way we can," Toni Aelly, a customer, said.

The market takes places Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesdays from 1 to 4 p.m. at the end of Harford Pier at Port San Luis in Avila Beach.