Bellingham Dockside Market: What to know about fish shopping

Sound Leader Seafoods sells a variety of whole fish Saturday, July 2, at the Bellingham Dockside market at Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham.

Sound Leader Seafoods sells a variety of whole fish Saturday, July 2, at the Bellingham Dockside market at Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham.

The Bellingham Herald

Summer has returned to Whatcom County and with it brings more options for the Bellingham Dockside Market.

Local fishermen, Bellingham SeaFeast, the Port of Bellingham and the Working Waterfront Coalition of Whatcom County came together in October 2020 to create this market for fishermen to have the opportunity to sell their catch directly to residents.

Whether you’re a returning patron or new to the market, here are 10 things to know before you head to Squalicum Harbor.

1) Always check the Facebook Page for updates and information before attending.

Bellingham Dockside Market posts up-to-date information on its Facebook page including vendors, price lists and location. Check the page a day or two before sale day to make sure you have the right information.

2) The market typically takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the first and third Saturday of each month.

Weather, time of year and mechanical issues can cause fishermen to not be as successful as they would like. Again, be sure to check the Facebook page before you go for any changes that may occur.

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A professional filleter cuts up a fish someone purchased Saturday, July 2, at the Bellingham Dockside market at Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham. Kiaya Wilson The Bellingham Herald

3) Arrive early in the day to get the best selections.

Getting there right when it opens will give you the best chance to get everything you may need and see all that is offered. If you arrive after noon, some vendors may be sold out of certain products or all together so be sure to go in the morning. Some vendors allow pre-orders to be picked up at the market. This requires contact with the specific vendor before the market opens.

4) There is no permanent, fixed location for this market.

The market is always at Squalicum Harbor, however there are two gates available. Gates 5 and 7 are open for the market to use so again be sure to check its Facebook page to ensure you’re going to the right gate. There are also signs on the harbor directing traffic.

5) Vendors and prices are always changing.

There are a variety of vendors that participate in the market, however they are not always consistent. Check the market Facebook page before sale day to see the full list of vendors participating for that day. Vendors also set their own prices, some of which are posted on the market Facebook page, so be sure to check out the vendors’ social media or contact them directly for a price list.

6) Cash and cards are accepted depending on the vendor.

Some vendors are cash only whereas some are card only. Make sure to check individual vendors’ social media or contact them directly to see what they accept before attending the market.

7) There is a professional filler on site.

You don’t need to go far if you need a fish to be filled because there is a free, professional filleter at the market! Although getting your fish filleted is free, there is a tip jar on the counter that all goes to the filleter.

8) Products come in various quantities.

Some vendors sell whole fish and some sell fish portions. Sound Leader Seafoods sold a wide variety of fresh whole fish at the market on July 2. However, just down the dock, Jean C Family Fisheries sold a variety of fish portions and fillets. Check the market Facebook page or individual vendors’ social media to see what products will be offered on sale day.

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Big Shrimp’n Bellingham docks Saturday, July 2, at the Bellingham Dockside market at Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham. Kiaya Wilson The Bellingham Herald

9) Leashed-dogs are allowed on site.

Dogs are welcome at all areas of the market, but they must be leashed and supervised.

10) Some vendors sell directly from their boat.

Most vendors set up next to the docks at Gate 5 on July 2, however Sound Leader Seafoods and Big Shrimp’n Bellingham sold products directly off their boats. Vendors’ boats are closed to the public but you are allowed to walk onto the dock next to the boat and buy products. Be sure to dress according and watch your step if deciding to go on the dock.

For more information, contact Bellingham Dockside Market through email, Facebook messenger or by calling 360-676-2500.

If you are interested in participating as a vendor, complete the Bellingham Dockside Vendor Application and email Dockside Market Coordinator Cari Chan.

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Kiaya Wilson is an intern with The Bellingham Herald. She is a Western Washington University graduate in journalism.

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