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Alessandro Baccari, Fisherman’s Wharf Historian, on the Significance of the new Hyde Street Fishing Harbor

Thankfully, the Port of San Francisco has been extremely committed to the preservation and upkeep of the fishing industry at Fisherman’s Wharf and within the last ten years, some wonderful things have occurred. First came the renovation of Pier 45 following the ’89 quake. This place is one of the best facilities anywhere on the West Coast to house fish processing operators and wholesalers. In fact, the largest wholesale operation on the West Coast is right here in San Francisco on Fisherman’s Wharf.

Recently, there was large debate in San Francisco about these Piers. We felt the fishing industry at Fisherman’s Wharf was threatened. It boiled down to a ballot measure and over 70% of the voters said to keep the fish at Fisherman’s Wharf. Now in essence, all of Pier 45 will be dedicated to the fishing industry.

Keep in mind that’s 11 acres, plus the inner and outer lagoons, the waterways. We fought for and got state money for a breakwater to protect the fishing boats. Then lo and behold came the need for more berthing so thereupon came the thought of developing a new fishing harbor to complement the inner and outer lagoon harbor

It’s gratifying that the Port is so aware of the importance of the fishing industry and what it means to the economy of not only the Port, but to the city. The fishing business contributes over $100 million to the San Francisco economy. And it’s just one part of the Fisherman’s Wharf economic engine, which drives San Francisco’s number one industry, tourism. Eight of ten tourists visiting San Francisco make their way to Fisherman’s Wharf, over 12 million in all.

Everyone knows about Ghirardelli Square, The Cannery, The Anchorage and Pier 39, and the Maritime Museum. But many are surprised to learn that it all adds up to better than 4,000 hotel rooms, over 144 restaurants and a tremendous amount of stores. And without the fishing industry, you can’t have a Fisherman’s Wharf. Right now 32,000 people work at Fisherman’s Wharf. Of that, over sixty percent are minority. We have a rainbow coalition that we’re proud of. We even have the Art Academy.