Our Sustainability Story

Our Sustainability Story

The finest seafood from San Diego, Baja & beyond…

We’re divers first

Catalina Offshore Products surfaced in the late ‘70s when owner Dave Rudie spent his days diving for sea urchins and seaweed in the kelp beds of Catalina Island and selling his harvest off his boat. Today we are celebrated as one of Southern California’s premier purveyors of fresh and frozen seafood. We’ve grown from our humble beginnings, but we’re still family-owned and Dave still goes “searchin’ for urchin” every chance he gets.

California gold

Back in the ‘60s, the sea urchin was declared a menace that needed to be destroyed. Urchins feed on kelp and can decimate an entire kelp forest in record time. Kelp companies worked to eradicate the pests until the formation California’s commercial sea urchin fishery in the early ‘70s. Unregulated at the time, the new fishery sparked a “gold rush” by hundreds of fishermen hoping to crack into a burgeoning culinary market. By the mid-’80s, uni had put Catalina Offshore Products on the map and it remains one of the world’s finest delicacies!

Fish know no boundaries

Our strategic location in “America’s Finest City,” just a few hours’ drive from Baja California, gives us direct access to a bounty of seafood from the U.S. West Coast and both sides of the Baja Peninsula. Life is slower in Baja. Much of the fishing is still done by fishing villages, or cooperativos, using traditional hand lines and low-impact nets from day boats, or pangas. Our longstanding relationships in this region enable us to provide a world of fish not widely available beyond San Diego.

Creating a sustainable legacy

Our reputation as a trusted seafood source allows for unique collaborative opportunities. In 2019 we teamed up with NOAA Fisheries and local fishermen and chefs on an initiative to celebrate the full culinary potential of San Diego’s seafood. Our mission – to increase the value of landed catch by broadening your seafood palate. Opah, an incidental catch that wasn’t getting used to its fullest, inspired chefs to think outside the center cut fillet. 

Underway for 2020-2021 is Fish Future, a collaboration aimed at making more complete use of locally caught tuna for culinary and other purposes by identifying new economic opportunities for San Diego’s fishing, processing, and culinary industries.

Opah Makes A Splash

Opah are colorful, delicious fish that are making waves in both the culinary and scientific worlds, with San Diego serving as the center of the action. 

Explore this page to discover more about this catch and our culinary engineering approach to it!