Santa Barbara will join Morro Bay, Monterey, Fort Bragg and Half Moon Bay in establishing California's 5th Community Groundfish Quota Bank

Background: Since 2016, CFSB has been in discussion with The Nature Conservancy about transferring groundfish quota from TNC to CFSB.  TNC acquired fishing rights in 2006 in a private buyout. Although there are some strong opinions in our community about TNC’s motives and past behavior, we feel this is a good opportunity for CFSB and aligns us with other small ports in California, who collectively have a stronger voice together.  TNC's stated motivation for this agreement is to “transfer quota in the Santa Barbara region to support community organization and leadership development, resource stewardship, collaborative research, and education and outreach.” Because this quota must be fished in our local waters and they support local control of fishing rights, TNC would like our community to be in control of it.

Our Motivation: CFSB’s mission in partnering on this quota transfer is the shared belief that local control, local stewardship and local access to fishing is good for both coastal communities and healthy oceans. For CFSB, owning quota provides assurance that the quota won’t transfer out of the area and can be used to provide fishing opportunities to our port. Owning quota also gives our port a voice in solving problems with the current management of groundfish resources, including issues with onerous observer coverage, the 36° management boundary, and hurdles to market access. Further, this valuable set of assets has the potential to financially strengthen our port association by leasing quota annually. We are optimistic that the value of the quota will increase in the future and we will look into ways to maximize returns to our port community in terms of fishery jobs and infrastructure.  In sum, there are multiple compelling reasons for CFSB to accept this quota.

The Assets: CFSB will now own 10% of the annual Sablefish South annual total allowable catch and 6% (actually 5.679%) of the Shortspine thornyheads South catch in the federal Limited Entry Individual Fishing Quota program, to be fished with any allowable gear type, trawl or fixed. These are the maximum ownership percentages allowable. 10% of the Sablefish South quota is equivalent to ~175,000 lbs annually; 6% for Shortspine works out to 3,000 lbs per two month reporting and 6,000 lbs per year total. There are no trip limits or landing caps. The Sablefish must be fished south of the 36° line and the Shortspine must be fished south of 34.27° (Point Conception). We also now own one Limited Entry Permit for a smaller vessel (<43 ft.) and can lease a second permit from TNC. We also have leads on leasing more Shortspine quota at good rates, since additional Shortspine quota may be necessary use this quota with longline gear. The transfer of these assets comes with $25,600 in grant funding from TNC to CFSB to support the necessary staff time and workshops needed in 2018/2019 to set up a Quota Leasing program that benefits the port.

Limits of TNC’s involvement: Once the quota is transferred to us in early 2018, TNC has no further ownership of the quota and cannot influence the leasing terms or leasee options chosen by CFSB. TNC staff will not be involved in the formation of CFSB’s leasing program for this quota, the selection of advisory board for this program, or protocols used for decision-making about the quota. We are under no obligation from TNC to actively lease the quota, and they will have no role in influencing to whom or how we lease the quota.

The Agreement: Below are the key passages of the contractual agreement that explain the shared objectives and the commitments of the two parties.

CFSB is acquiring quota share for the purposes of:

a.       Securing community ownership of access rights to manage and harvest certain IFQ groundfish species in the Santa Barbara region and maintain local, small boat access to the IFQ groundfish fishery.

b.       Collaborating with local fishery stakeholders, including scientists, fishermen, and community business leaders to determine best use of fishing privileges to support the local fishing economy and fishing-dependent infrastructure and services.

c.       Administering and managing fishing privileges for social, economic, and environmental benefits by developing and participating in network of community fishing trusts that strives to meet needs of communities while maintaining or improving resource and ocean health.

d.       Improving knowledge of and information on regional fish stocks and marine resources in order to support cooperative and adaptive management of fisheries in the Santa Barbara region. 


What exactly is CFSB on the hook for?

The following are our deliverables to TNC that will demonstrate that CFSB is managing this quota on behalf of the fishing community, as listed in the agreement:

  • Federal permits and other paperwork completed for CFSB to own and maintain quota share
  • Press release on the quota transfer and CFSB’s plans
  • Documented CFSB plan including: ‘decision tree’ for when and how to lease quota; priorities and guidelines for allocating quota to leases and setting lease prices; and use of revenue generated from quota leases.
  • An interim report and final report that includes updates on activities over 2017-2019 concerning CFSB outreach and stewardship missions. These activities were chosen because they intersect with the mission of TNC, and are specified in the next section below. These objectives have been tailored to CFSB’s accomplishments in 2017 and plans for 2018, so will not be any hardship to follow through on.  A final report is due within 24 months from time of transfer. After that time, there is no further reporting required.

List of objectives and activities for inclusion in reporting

1. Organizational Capacity

CFSB will develop organizational capacity and expertise within the organization to manage fishing quota and permits that provide local access to the IFQ groundfish fishery. Preparations made during 2016 and 2017 are to be included in evaluating this point.

a)       CFSB will secure and/or provide appropriate training for staff and/or Board members who will develop understanding of the IFQ program and relevant regulations required for managing fishing rights through e.g. targeted trainings and exchanges with other fisheries trusts, government managers, fishermen and other relevant parties.

b)      CFSB will designate staff and/or Board members who will develop understanding of operational best practices for managing and leasing fishing rights in line with federal regulations and for the environmental, economic and social benefit to the community through, e.g., targeted trainings, and exchanges with other fisheries trusts, government managers, fishermen, and other relevant parties.

c)       CFSB will work to identify and reduce barriers faced by local vessels seeking to participate in the IFQ groundfish fishery, such as high costs of obtaining monitoring coverage for accountability or navigating complex regulations.


2. Coordination with Fisheries Trusts

CFSB will collaborate with network of community fisheries trusts in California and other fisheries organizations to identify opportunities for increased effectiveness and coordination across organizations and communities, which may involve engaging in advocacy for shared priorities at relevant public forums such as the California Fish and Game Commission or Pacific Fishery Management Council

3. Collaborative Research, Cooperative Management, and Data Collection

CFSB will act as a contributor to develop and participate in collaborative fisheries research that advances the understanding of marine resources, test the use of new technologies for data collection, and/or demonstrate cooperative management practices (not specific to just groundfish). Could include participating in a pilot program focused on new efforts to promote fishermen-collected data and other information that can inform management or operational decisions

4. Sustainable Seafood/Fishing Education

CFSB will participate in educational sustainable seafood events and other seafood education programs that increase knowledge and awareness of sustainable fishing practices and seafood in the local area. CFSB will support activities and programs that strengthen local, sustainable seafood marketing.

5. Marine Debris Education and Clean Up

CFSB will conduct marine debris clean-up events and educational efforts.


Questions? Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions and concerns. You can reach Chris Voss, President of CFSB at 805-698-8353.