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"From Fishing to Farmers Markets" & events, issues & ideas

Saturday, February 19, 2005
Oregon sardine permits to go limited entry
Steve and I attended a recent meeting in Newport, OR. of the Developmental Fishery Advisory Board. This Board is made up of fishermen, processor representatives, and is in turn advised by ODF&W. The role is advisory only. The real changes are made by the Developmental Fisheries Board. Fish & Wildlife is also advisory at this upper level of beurocracy.

The goal of this board is to shepard developing fisheries through the initial stages until they become a viable commercial fishery. Oregon sardines meet the criteria of a fully developed fishery. Now the pie must be established and split. Whenever there is a valuable pie, there will be diverse opinions as to how it is split.

*Eighteen of twenty permit holders want to limit the permits to twenty.
*Half of the processors want to add more permits to the existing twenty.
*Several of the processors are adding capacity, so they want more boats to choose from.
*Kevin Hill of NMFS of NOAA has advised that the quota will be assessed down in the future.
*The Makah Indian Nation now wants 10,000 tons of the quota for itself. (That is out of a prospective 40,000 tons for the NW Coast.

So the PIE is being defined before it is split.

My fear is that the people who initially invested millions of dollars and years of time to develop this fishery will not be stomped on by well connected Johnnie-come-latelies.
The Developmental Fisheries Advisory Board appears to be leaning to the will of the processors. I hope they don't forget that independent fishermen risk not only their own fortunes to keep their boats up-to-date and safe, but also risk their lives every day.

Friday, February 11, 2005
Bombing the Net at Eagle's Nest
Yesterday the boys brought in 40 tons of squid. That was wonderful! However, it was at the cost of bombing the net on a pinnacle near East Point ( Santa Rosa Island). The squid like to spawn in the shallows midst kelp and rocky bottom. The squid sirens called five boats into harms way that night as the tide reached its maximum flow, and the nets dragged over the Reef at East Point and shredded many a mesh as well as sawing the purseline in half. Steve was acting as relief skiffman and saw the disaster unfold from the end of the towline. Paul, Marcus, Johann, and Rich struggled with a net that wouldn't budge as the current pushed it further onto the underwater reef. All five boats tore up and knew they would be spending the daylight hours sewing on the dock.
I got the call at 9 am to hightail it up to Port Hueneme with a bale of web and a new floating purseline. I arrived to find five weary men and 200 feet of tattered net stretched out on the dock. The only solution was to pull on my boots, sharpen a knife, fill up a needle with green 18 thread, and start lacing the damage together with the rest of the gang. Seven hours and many Wendy's double cheeseburgers later, the Papa George idled out of Port Hueneme Harbor and resumed the hunt for squid.
Last night I awoke to the rattle of wind and rain on the windows as the promised Pinapple Express pushed through San Pedro. I imagined Steve out in the skiff, hat pulled low over his eyes, wet cigar clenched in a grimace as the rain raked his face and the swell rolled under his keel. Soon I'll hear the results of last night's fishing.
My homespun adage is that for every day of bad weather, a fisherman earns an equal and opposite day of excellent weather. Just the other day Steve called about the gorgeous evening run by the north side of Santa Cruz Island......

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