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A native San Diegan whose Portuguese family settled in the city in 1892, Tommy Gomes, aka Tommy the Fishmonger, hails from a long line of professional tuna fishermen. After retiring from commercial fishing, he landed a job in 2003 as a fish cutter. He evolved into the role of fishmonger, becoming the seafood supplier’s public face and helping grow the brand beyond its wholesale origins.
In 2011, Gomes’ charisma and seafood expertise landed him on San Diego Magazine’s list of “50 People to Watch.” By 2012 he had opened Catalina Offshore Product’s Seafood Education and Nutrition Center – a fish market that attracts customers from around the world, including top chefs and media. He had also founded Collaboration Kitchen, a nonprofit dinner series focused on seafood education. An outspoken champion of local and sustainable seafood, he promotes responsible fishing practices and zero-waste consumption. His pioneering approach to opah, specifically, led to an emerging market for several edible parts of the fish that historically have been overlooked. His work was a significant component in Catalina Offshore receiving a substantial grant in 2019 in collaboration with NOAA Fisheries which was aimed at increasing the value of San Diego’s local fisheries. He is on a mission to put the freshest seafood from San Diego, CA commercial fishermen on America’s dinner tables.
In his spare time, Gomes can be found on the local restaurant scene, watching hockey, or taking his boat, motorcycle or ’55 Ford pickup for a ride.