Alioto-Lazio Fish Company shuts down, for now

January 13, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The Alioto-Lazio Fish Company has been in San Francisco for 70 years. The retail fish operation is a fixture on Fisherman's Wharf. But Thursday the owners closed their doors, possibly for good, or maybe for just a short time.

"We do not know what the future holds" according to the three generations of women owners.

They say their plans are on hold because of oil pollution cleanup being done by ExxonMobil and monitored by the Port of San Francisco. The city sued the oil giant back in 2008 to force it to clean up gas and other petroleum products that for years seeped into the bay from fuel storage tanks.

The fish company also sued the city and ExxonMobil over the contamination, but now that the remediation work has begun, the owners say it has impacted their business and their health.

Angela Cincotta says the work makes her walls and floor shake like an earthquake, and that she called an ambulance after a diesel release caused breathing problems. The family matriarch, Stephanie Lazio Cincotta cried as she talked about the company closing down.

The Port of San Francisco says the oil pollution cleanup will take six to eight weeks and that the city has no documented evidence of harm to Alioto-Lazio's business or the owners' well-being.

ExxonMobil has released a statement saying in part, "This work is being done under the direction of and in full cooperation with the California Water Quality Control Board."