It's odd that though Crescent City is one of California's premiere fishing harbors, there's no fisherman's market there.
Fortunately, one businessman wants to change that. Bill Bradshaw recently purchased Lucy's Crab Shack, which has been closed for some time.
Unfortunately, harbor officials want Bradshaw to pay a fee that is higher than what they expect fishermen who sell directly from their boat to shell out.
Bradshaw and fishing boats ought to pay the same fee. Never mind the argument that currently fishermen who often don't pay the fee because of poor enforcement unfairly pay less than anyone who runs a crab shack. It's simply a matter of the harbor generating more foot traffic so it can revitalize the facility as a tourist destination.
The logic behind the higher fee is that anyone with a crab shack holds an edge in attracting business. Their box along the dock automatically tells people, "Here's where to get your fresh fish and seafood." In that sense, Bradshaw has a favored spot and like someone renting a corner office, he ought to pay a little more for it.
But the harbor has bigger fish to fry than picking up a few extra dollars in fees from Bradshaw or anyone else who owns a crab shack. Harbor officials' priority ought to be just getting people to the facility.
And one good way to get them there is to make obvious that freshly caught fish and crab is for sale.
Unless you've lived in Crescent City a long time, most people don't know that you can buy fish and crab straight from the boat. And for many tourists, doing just that can be an uncomfortable experience. Which boats sell? Do you go aboard a boat to make the purchase? Who do you speak to about buying? One simple rule of tourism is to make each step a visitor must take as worry-free and as obvious as possible. There's never a good reason to complicate any detail of a visit.
Rather than penalize Bradshaw for taking the initiative in reviving the harbor's fish market, officials there should look at ways to get the word out that fresh fish and crab is available in Crescent City. After all, buying it fresh or just cooked at the harbor is a neat experience. The additional foot traffic such sales generate can help give the harbor the nudge it needs to become a popular destination.
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