Searchin’ for urchin
One might say that Catalina Offshore Products put sea urchins on the map in California. Or maybe sea urchins put Catalina Offshore on the map. Either way, the spiny creatures are at the core of Catalina’s success.
From Catalina Island to the coast
As a teen, our fearless leader Dave Rudie’s first business was a lemonade stand. After falling in love with diving during a high school class, his foray into the seafood business began with the discovery of a culinary market for seaweed and sea urchin. Fishing the fertile kelp beds of Catalina Island, Dave sold fresh harvests right off his boat. Eventually, he began operating out of a garage in San Diego. He would dive for for local urchins during the day, process them at night for their prized roe, and make deliveries to customers the following day. As business grew, Dave rented a processing plant from one of his seaweed customers. By 1998, Catalina Offshore Products had moved into our current location in San Diego.
Long term relationships
Today Catalina Offshore Products employs nearly 100 people, and our uni department alone has a staff of 45. Weather permitting, live sea urchins are delivered to us daily from divers in San Diego, Santa Barbara and Fort Bragg. We process each and every urchin by hand within 24 hours to ensure the highest quality uni. We ship different sized packages of our uni for various applications as well as live urchins when available. Our uni wholesale and retail customers are scattered throughout the U.S. with exports going to Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Proudly, many of our uni processing staff and clients have been with us for decades.
More choices from the sea
Over the years our operation has expanded from uni to include all seafood. Although some is imported from other parts of the world, our specialty is wild and farmed species found off the West Coast, including the Baja peninsula. In addition to our beloved uni we feature yellowtail, opah, grouper, black cod, tuna, swordfish, salmon, live spot prawns, spiny lobster, rock crab and much more!