Our Town: Hawai‘i’s New Fish Auction
Brooks Takenaka runs the fish auction at its new Pier 38 home–where the fish is literally fresh off the boat.
|A local food institution
landed a new home. the United Fishing Agency's fish auction moved from its home
on 'Ähui Street in Kaka'ako to Honolulu Harbor's Pier 38.|
The last time the fish auction moved was in the late '70s, when it left its original address near 'A'ala Park. "[The Kaka'ako place] had a lot of character," says Brooks Takenaka of the humble old digs alongside Kewalo Basin, "but the new facility at Pier 38 is three times bigger, and certainly more up to date in terms of technology."
Takenaka runs the auctions, long an attraction for fans of fresh fish. For the consumer, he adds, "we'll now be able to offer a higher quality product." No longer will the mahimahi, opah and 'öpakapaka have to be trucked from the vessels to the auction. Boats will now dock alongside the new 18,000-square-foot facility and unload their catch directly, creating a faster, more streamlined operation. The fish will be iced down, auctioned off and trucked out in a display of efficiency-all amounting to a fresher slice of 'ahi on your plate.
The fish auction is the heart of the Hawai'i seafood industry. That is not hyperbole-all of the 130-plus long-line vessels bring their catches here where they are bid on by restaurants, supermarkets and wholesalers. The new fish auction is designed to be more open to the consumer, in a venue that will eventually have food stands and a diner.
"We're embarking on an effort to bridge this gap between the industry and the community," explains Takenaka. He and his consultant, Dr. John Kaneko, have been developing workshops for the industry and the culinary world, such as Seafood Safety. Takenaka mentions that Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi have also volunteered to give some demonstrations and cooking classes.
"We're going to be doing some exciting new things," says Takenaka. "For me, it's like beginning a new chapter. I'm really looking forward to it." Alex Barasch