The Romeo Pier was constructed in 1944 to supply sardines and other fish harvested by local fishermen to the Romeo Fish Market in San Francisco. During its heyday, trucks hauled six to seven tons of fish a day from the pier to the wholesale market on Pacific Street in San Francisco. During June of 2018, at a cost of $2.3 million, the iconic but dilapidated Romeo Pier in Half Moon Bay was dismantled and removed.
It is not possible to separate the history of the pier from that of Tony Romeo, the man who, starting in 1945, continuously repaired the wood-framed, wooden decked, 690-foot-long pier that was supported by round wooden pilings for more than 40 years. The pier required constant maintenance and the replacement of rotting parts over more than four decades of exposure to the cold, foggy, stormy, marine environment of the central California coast. Generators, winches, pumps, water pipes, plumbing, electrical wiring, sewage lines, enormous freezers, and other equipment had to be kept operational despite heavy rains, high winds, strong currents, power failures, and other ongoing problems. Over decades of dealing with local fishermen and restaurants, Tony earned their respect with his fairness and honesty.
In the Half Moon Bay area between the two world wars the catch peaked in 1936 when 750,000 tons of fish were harvested. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, commercial fishing at Princeton boomed again; in 1950, 318,000 tons of sardines were harvested. A combination of factors reduced the yield to just 2,562 tons three years later. The sardine boom had ended; salmon, crabs, and rockfish became the focus of a much smaller fishing fleet.