Warehouse fire devastates San Francisco's fishing industry

Local fishing industries struggling ahead of summer

Baymen clammer Doug Rodgers says his down over 80 percent since coronavirus hit.

A huge that tore through a warehouse on Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf has destroyed fishing gear used to deliver about two-thirds of the city's fresh seafood, threatening to disrupt the upcoming Dungeness crab season, local fishermen said Sunday.

Continue Reading Below

The fire erupted before dawn Saturday and wiped out the warehouse the size of a football field near the end of Pier 45.

Larry Collins, who runs the San Francisco Community Fishing Association, estimates that thousands of crab, shrimp and black cod traps worth up to $5 million were lost in the blaze. He told the San Francisco Chronicle the numbers could be far higher since port officials changed the warehouse's function into a storage facility in February because it lacked proper fire sprinklers.

photo courtesy of Dan Whaley, @dwhly, shows a warehouse fire burning at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco early Saturday, May 23, . (Dan Whaley, @dwhly via AP)

“Pier 45 is the heart and soul of commercial fishing out of the Bay Area,” Collins said. “To take a hit like this, it’s a bad one. Most people don’t think about where their salmon, crab or black cod come from, but that’s where: It’s Pier 45.”

FROZEN SEAFOOD DEMAND RISES DURING CORONAVIRUS AS FRESH FISH SALES PLUNGE 

The concrete pier is home to a mix of seafood and maritime businesses and tourist attractions, including the Musée Mécanique, a museum devoted to historic arcade games, and the SS Jeremiah O'Brien, a historic World War II liberty ship. They are among numerous tourist attractions on the wharf.

Fire officials work in front of an entrance to Musee Mecanique after a fire broke out before dawn at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, Saturday, May 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Visitors also come for the Dungeness crabs, clam chowders served in sourdough bread bowls, the sea lions that lounge on the floating docks and shops on Pier 39.

The Chronicle reported that most of the salmon gear was saved because it's currently on boats. The black cod traps are largely in place for next week.

SEAFOOD INDUSTRY STRUGGLES DURING CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

However, the crab pots that were packed to the ceiling in the warehouse couldn't be salvaged. With the Dungeness crab season expected to begin in mid-November, local crab boat owners launched a campaign to raise $1 million to buy new gear. Crab pots cost up to $300 each.

“We’ve got to get this fixed,” Collins said. “The fleet that fishes out of here is basic to our food security.”

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE

Investigators were assessing any damage to the pier and were looking into the cause of the fire.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

Source: Read Full Article