San Pedro Fish Market Closes its Doors After Decades of Business


The San Pedro Fish Market will close Friday, March 3. Originally founded in 1956 on the streets of San Pedro, the business moved to the waterside location in 1982 to the place we know today. The location that featured cruises, seafood, drinks, and more for decades will be moving its operations. This comes from the current lease of the fish market expiring and new plans to renovate the area being underway. 

A New Location

For those who still want to follow the business, they have operations based in Long Beach and Wilmington. A staple in the community since the 1980s, the Fish Market will be looking to continue its storied history by setting up a temporary location in the form of food trucks outside of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum; a couple of hundred feet of the location could seat over 2,000 guests.. Workers in the current market speculate that this will reduce the seating capacity to around 1,000.

Employees at the fish market are also feeling the consequences of this closure of the location. Catching up with some employees of the market who wished to remain nameless, many talked about how the employers kept them “out of the loop” when asked about their future employment. An employee of the market also informed us about their potential payment structure. They said that employees of the San Pedro market who had been earning “$20-$25” would be subject to $15.50, minimum wage rates. Multiple employees noted that a meeting between managers, employees, and owners would take place Thursday, Feb. 16. 

A New Waterfront Experience

For those wondering what is happening with the location now that the lease is over, multiple billboards are located around the area promoting a “Waterfront Experience.” Upon further investigation, this new place, West Harbor LA, will be a mall-/park-hybrid. Not all customers are on board with this new shipload of change. Jesus C. Montellano, a customer and family man, said,  “We have enough malls.” He discussed how the market has been a place for his family to enjoy their time together. Montellano mentions his distaste towards the new waterfront West Harbour development that is being constructed on-site. The project will include retail, restaurants, excursions, and even an amphitheater.

For many customers like Montellano and his family, the San Pedro Fish Market holds an air of nostalgia and family mementos that chain restaurants and retail stores could not replace. The market has been home to a plethora of significant family memories and a place for those groups to come together and spend quality time for decades. One loyal customer and his family spoke about their love and experience with the place, and the importance it holds to them. “It’s a landmark,”

Some customers like Carlos Rodriguez are all aboard for new ideas. The new West Harbour project is an exciting prospect to look forward to. “All progress is good,” said Rodriguez (translated from Spanish). Rodriguez says he looks forward to the new changes and is excited to enjoy the new waterfront development when finished. But Rodriguez will continue to visit the fish market at its temporary pop-up location. 

During multiple interviews featuring different employees, many of the same issues were brought up. Amongst some of the employees who would like to remain unnamed, one shared the uncertainty of the whole situation. There was no guarantee that he would keep his position at the new pop-up location or that the pay would remain the same. He shared his concerns about how the closure of the fish market will affect his livelihood. “Some of us have been working here for over 18 years,” said another unnamed employee (translated from Spanish). “And some of us are older already, it will not be easy for us to find another job.” 

There were many vital questions left unanswered for many of the workers at the San Pedro Fish market. However, the market closure has not affected all employees in the same way. One worker over at LA Waterfront Cruises said she was “looking forward to the new developments.” She remarked that business had been slow since the pandemic began and hoped the new developments would bring more people in.
An array of different feelings and opinions surround the unexpected closure of the San Pedro Fish Market, and El Paisano Media reached out to the fish market for any further comments. As of our publication date, we have yet to receive a response from the market. 

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