By Caroline Abkar | April 2017
I am privileged to chat with Dave Rudie today, owner of Catalina Offshore Products, a place where businesses and consumers can get their hands on restaurant quality seafood right here at the intersection of Bay Park and Morena. We chatted about how and why he started Catalina Offshore Products, what he loves about Bay Park and also about sustainable fishing practices and how he supports it through his company. Dave’s pride and passion for seafood are reflected in the quality and uniqueness of our ocean’s wonderful bounty available right through his store. Enjoy the interview and please share your thoughts, comments and questions as always!
Caroline Abkar: Dave, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Dave Rudie: Sure! It all began for me 40 years ago when I was a sea urchin diver and seaweed diver off the backside of Catalina Island. I fell in love with the ocean when I first snorkeled at 16 years old. I studied Marine Biology at UC Irvine and I was a sport diver on the weekends. I saw a lot of sea urchins and the dive clubs recommended we kill them because they were eating kelp beds. I heard of a new market for sea urchins kicking off right around that time, where they were buying them for 7c/pound…! I therefore became a sea urchin diver and sold my catch right off my boat along the coast of Catalina Island. I acquired a bigger boat and worked all over as a fisherman. After I moved to San Diego, I began processing the sea urchins in my garage and a plant I was able to use by night, and sold them directly to sushi bars. I also found wholesalers and a buyer in Japan, when sea urchins and sushi started gaining popularity.