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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.

Photo: Karin Kovalsky

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

Get your fish on
United Fishing Agency
1131 N. Nimitz Highway

{Clipping Service}

Is TheBus's No. 52 Circle Island tour worth the $2 fare? A writer for Tennessee's Knoxville News Sentinel writes about an around-the-island adventure in the newspaper's July 11, 2004 edition:

I'm convinced I'm in hell, but a glimpse outside to the Pacific reminds me otherwise. I'm riding the public bus on O'ahu.

A $2 tour of a chunk of American paradise, I'll admit, sounds incredible. And it is. At times. At others it seems a never-ending nausea-inducing journey through the roads of Hawai'i's most populous island, a jaunt far more restrictive than a car trip, but still an inexpensive link to some of O'ahu's storied shores. …

We ride along the North Shore, past stretches of sandy beaches and famed surf spots. As we head along the coast, the bus keeps filling up. … I'm being bumped and pushed and the temperature on the bus has steadily risen. I spend most of the two-and-a-half hours of the trip's second leg standing and begin to feel sick. I'm missing the passing scenery because of the crowd and struggling to keep my composure. The adjectives I used earlier in the day-charming and insightful-must be replaced with words like torturous and toilsome. I want out. Now.

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Honolulu Magazine April 2019
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