Voices from the Science Centers is an oral history initiative dedicated to documenting the institutional knowledge of fisheries scientists and administrators in the labs of NOAA’s Fisheries Science Centers.
Robert Santangelo is a fishery market reporter for the National Marine Fisheries Service. He received his B.S. in Business from C.W. Post College in 1976. His father and uncle worked at Fulton Fish Market from the late 1940's to the early 1960's which meant that Santangelo was around the fishing industry from a young age. His first job for NMFS was as a clerk in 1979. Shortly after being hired, he also started working as a market reporter for Market News at Fulton Fish Market. He reported on the market at Fulton from 1979 until 2005 when the market was moved to the Bronx. He has been a market reporter for 37 years and is currently based out of Long Island, New York.
Interview contains discussions of: Fulton Fish Market, Market News, commercial fishing, fish market reporting, technology, NOAA, NMFS, fish sales, fishing regulations, fish vendors, Hurricane Katrina, Exxon Valdez oil spill and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Market reporter Robert Santangelo has been involved in the fish sales industry since the age of six when he would go with his father to Fulton Fish Market, the largest fish market in the U.S. He describes his early position as a clerk typing on a manual typewriter, mimeographing, and mailing the daily market reports before digital technologies existed. After several months of training, he began his job as a market reporter. He covered one section of the Fulton Market and interviewed sellers regarding the species and amounts of fish that had been sold that day. Fishermen then read this report to ensure that they were getting a fair price.
In this interview, he describes the sometimes difficult process of establishing trust and building a rapport with vendors. Most fish at the Fulton Market came from New England and southern states such as Florida and the Carolinas. On Mondays and Thursdays, the market was especially busy because foreign fish would arrive from the Caribbean, Central and South America, Canada, and Europe.
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