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San Diego seafood business navigating new waters to stay afloat

Posted at 1:00 PM, Apr 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-12 21:51:29-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Dave Rudie spent a lot of time in the water growing up. He eventually turned that love into a business.

“I learned to go snorkeling and diving the ocean,” Rudie said. “I started the company as a fisherman 43 years ago. I spent bout 10 years fishing for sea urchins.”

He expanded and founded Catalina Offshore Products on Lovelock Street. He buys fish from California and Baja fishermen and sells it to distributors or restaurants. Selling fish wholesale made up about 90 percent of his business, but with many restaurants now closed, Rudie said his sales have dropped by more than half.

Rudie said what is happening now is more devastating than any weather event that’s affected his seafood business in the past.

“This is the biggest storm I’ve been through,” Rudie said.

El Niño weather greatly affects the fish and kelp pattern, according to Rudie. He has dealt with several El Niños over the years. “We got hit by the El Niño in 2016,” he said. “we were just recovering from that, now we get this monster storm of Coronavirus.”

His retail business—selling directly to the consumer—made up a very small portion of his sales, but because of the pandemic, he is making sure San Diegans know their fish market is available to them. While quality fresh fish is not the cheapest and “is more expensive than beef or chicken,” Rudie said fresh seafood is extremely healthy.

“Please support local business… these times we need healthy food,” he added.

The company offers curbside delivery and plans to add home delivery soon.

Catalina Offshore Products is open from Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is open on the weekends from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (except for major holidays). It is closed Mondays.