Letters of concern about the >1000% Landing Fee increase in the State's budget.

Governor Jerry Brown requested that the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife make up its budget shortfall. Because landing fees haven't been raised at all in over a decade, the plan includes a huge jump in landing fees that will generate $12.4 million dollars for the Department.

From Mike Conroy:

"The DFW is running at a significant deficit. By all accounts they take in 75M and spend 95M. To close that gap, the Governor (and by extension the Director of the DFW) has proposed increasing landing taxes (which are soon to be called landing fees)."

On Tuesday in Sacramento, fishermen submitted written and oral testimony in response to this proposal.

CFSB sent a letter  to Sacramento. An excerpt:

"locally caught seafood cannot compete in the marketplace with the overwhelming supply of cheaper imports that often come from questionable environmental, labor and legal practices. A large increase in the dockside cost of California seafood will only serve to reduce our market share relative to imports and further destabilize the future existence of our sustainable fisheries and the working waterfronts they support." 

Here is Fort Bragg's letter, kindly shared by Capt. Scott Hockett. An excerpt:

"A fishing business that operates closer to the border will likely harvest inside California's management lands and land in the neighboring state of Oregon. When a local fishing port community loses highly dependent landings from fisheries... the port's ability to provide needed shoreside infrastructure... is reduced exponentially..."

Please take a moment to add your voice or signature to this campaign! Lobster fishermen in the CLTFA should contact Mike Conroy to add their name (mike@wecofm.com). You can also email me at kim@cfsb.info with comments.

David Goldenberg of the Sea Urchin Marketing Commission attended the Tuesday meeting in Sacramento and wrote up this account. An excerpt:

"The Committee recognized the severity of the situation and held off making a decision.  They asked for more detail from the Director.  I suspect they will pass a moderate increase as the Department is truly lacking funding... Several enviro groups said they participated in the Department's Vision Blue Ribbon panel and they said that the Department needs to tax groups that have not been taxed before...namely conservation groups.  It remains to be seen how this gets resolved."

Assemblyman Jim Wood and Senator Mike McGuire are also voicing strong concern to their colleagues over the huge jump in fees. Read more about that here.