Spring Fisherman Highlight: Jordyn Kastlunger

For the Spring 2018 issue of San Diego Food System Spotlights, we interviewed local fisher(wo)man, Jordyn Kastlunger, about her fishing business and her desire to educate the community about the variety of local seafood San Diego has to offer.

1.     Please share the history of your fishing business.

I started fishing when I was very young because I grew up in a fishing family. My grandpa was a commercial fisherman and my dad still is, so I’ve been doing this since I was a kid. I’ve been selling fish at the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market for about 4 years and I love having the opportunity to sell what I catch alongside my dad and other second and third generation fishing families. I was inspired to break out on my own through local farmers markets, so this was my first week at the North Park Farmer’s Market on Thursdays.

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2.     Why are you committed to local fishing?

I’m committed to this work because I believe it’s so important to share how fish get to your plate. People buy fish in grocery stores and order seafood dishes in restaurants without thinking about the story behind them. As a fisher(wo)man, I know that some days we can catch 10-12 fish and the next day, we’ll catch nothing. I want to bring that awareness and education to consumers so they have a better understanding of the challenges and rewards of local fishing.

I love promoting and selling my local products at markets because it gives me the chance to talk directly to consumers, giving them a different, more personal, perspective on what they’re purchasing. It gives them the opportunity to get to know the person behind their meal and it gives me the opportunity to share my passion with others.

3.     What is your vision for your business?

I’m excited to see the growing potential for fresh, local caught seafood. The public is showing high interest and strong demand and they finally have a place to get it. My goal is to continue fishing with my dad, working at Tuna Harbor and selling at the North Park Famer’s Market. After this year, I hope to expand into more farmer’s markets.

4.     What are the biggest challenges for your business?

The challenges vary on a weekly basis based on supply and demand. One week can be full of great catches and the next can be really slow. Weather presents another challenge since the markets are outdoors (rain or shine). It’s much harder getting San Diegans to show up to buy fish on the sporadic, but occasional, cold and rainy days.

5.     What do fishermen need to succeed? 

To be successful we need to get our name out there. Word of mouth is the best referral and is integral to our business. San Diego needs some awareness building and education around local seafood and what our waters have to offer. It would be great to work closely with restaurants to educate consumers.   

6.     What would you like San Diegans to know?

I want to bring awareness to the availability and variety of seafood in San Diego. Everyone knows and loves salmon, but salmon doesn’t come from San Diego. People don’t realize there are 130+ species coming in on a regular basis. Everything I catch is fresh from the waters of San Diego. I want our community to know there are so many other options out there and expand on their tastes, try something new!

7.     What are you selling this week?

At the farmer’s market I sold crab, sea urchin, halibut and mackerel.

8.     What are your favorites to eat?

Swordfish, shark, rockcod, halibut and yellowtail.

9.     Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

I’ve always been a fan of sharing the story of how your seafood gets to you. I’m excited to continue sharing that story in hopes that more people support local fisherman and reap the benefits of eating local seafood.

You can find Jordyn at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market on Saturdays selling fish sandwiches at Loaf & Fish or at the North Park Farmer’s Markets on Thursdays selling her fresh catch.