Chris Voss opened the meeting at 4pm in the Harbor Classroom.
In attendance: Michael Harrington, John Colgate, Gary Burke, Shane Robinson, Jason Robinson, Jeff Maassen, Steve Escobar, Mary Nishimoto, John Richards, Michael Nelson, Adrian Stimson, Victoria Voss, Craig Brooker, Nick Voss
1. Boatyard Replacement project
Latest news on this ongoing project is that a Subcomittee of the Harbor Commission has been formed to investigate the challenges facing the commercial fishing community and create recommendations to present to City Council. Three Harbor Commissioners make up the subcommittee. Karl Trieberg of the Waterfront Dept acts as staff for the committee, educating them, running their meetings, doing work to support progress. The focus of the committee is on the need to find a new location for CFSB’s boat yard, and generally assess how city policy, zoning, infrastructure and funding meets or falls short of the present and future needs of commercial fishing.
CFSB is engaging closely with Karl Treiberg to express our needs and help keep the ball rolling. John Colgate, Chris Voss, Kim Selkoe and Michael Nelson have been meeting regularly to serve this role on behalf of CFSB. All CFSB members are invited to engage with us on this long term project.
One next step for us is going to be a survey of current and future storage needs of the fleet, including gear, boat and cold storage, so we can more accurately estimate the total area needed to accommodate commercial fishing storage needs. Jeff Maassen will be assisting Kim with implementing this survey. Please participate and reach out directly if you haven’t heard from us in the next couple weeks.
Another next step for the Subcomittee and us will be taking Harbor Commissioners and Planning Commissioners on a tour of the current fisheries infrastructure and space use within and outside of the Waterfront. We are also helping to compile an evaluation of property availability and space use in the OC, OM and M-1 zones adjacent to the Harbor, and within the Harbor, including City-owned and privately owned land. Karl Trieberg will work with City Planning staff to lead the evaluation.
2. Safety Grants
CFSB received a $10,000 grant from the South Bay Cable Committee to create a safety gear reimbursement fund for CFSB members. During the General Meeting, we discussed setting a deadline of October 1st at 12 pm for CFSB members to submit receipts for reimbursement. At that time, the available funds will be split equally among the number of valid applicants. An application will be created shortly to use for reimbursement that will detail qualifying purchases. There will likely be some administration cost that will reduce the total $10K funding amount. It was noted that we will need to get in touch with Kathy Pfeiffer to cross reference the names of folks who get reimbursed for safety gear through the County’s program, to ensure against the possibility of double-dipping. The application for the County’s safety gear reimbursement program was sent out on the CFSB email list last week.
Attendees brought up the Morro Bay Cable Committee’s large annual budget for safety gear reimbursement and suggested we look into how Santa Barbara fishermen could access more Cable mitigation funding in the future.
Also discussed was the status of the planned wind farm installations off of the Central Coast. Will there be impact to our black cod and blackgill grounds from the placement of the wind farm? At what point will there be opportunity to engage in the siting of the installation and mitigation? We will try to get some answers to these questions.
3. Year in review so far
We gave an overview of CFSB’s advocacy and outreach work in 2019 to date:
o Lengthy engagement in the Planning Commission and City Council decisions on an OM-1 zoned property at 35 Cesar Chavez. This advocacy led directly to the formation of the Harbor Commission’s Fishing Subcommittee.
o Sent a letter of opposition to the redevelopment plan for Channel Islands Harbor, and shared information about meetings on the subject.
o Sent a letter of support for SB262
o Tracked and communicated about Disaster Relief Funds
o Attended 2 PCFFA meetings and tracked D-crab issues.
o Pursued possible investors, partners, grants and properties that address our shoreside space needs
o Engaged with Air Pollution Control Board
o Spoke at MRC meetings about the need for engaged and informed Fish and Game Commissioners
o Worked with the California Community Quota Banks to prepare for decisions about our own Quota Bank formation
o Hosted Bob Dooley, Mike Conroy, Craig Shuman for port meetings
o Engaged on Box Crab fishery issues
o Supported ESA de-listing of Sea Otter
o Wrote letters of support for seats on PFMC and other bodies,
o Provided feedback on new initiatives of CDFW such as the new data portal, changes to FMP processes, possible roll out of e-Logbooks, etc.
- Other outreach
o Established dialogues with Coastal Commission, Trust for Public Land, entire City Council, Planning Dept, Waterfront Dept, Harbor Commission, OPC, FGC
o Participated in a panel discussion at a community showing of the movie ‘Of The Sea’ about California commercial fishing.
o Maintain an outreach table and fish filleting booth at the Saturday Market
o Pass on other news of hearings, JOFLO, etc. via our email list
o Gave educational lectures about our fisheries at a Community Environmental Council breakfast for their donors, the Harbor Merchant’s meeting, an impact investor conference called Reversing the Tide, and a philanthropy conference called Rachel’s Network.
o Engaged with Surfrider to coordinate on lost trap clean up
o Helped connect two science projects to fishermen interested to assist
4. We solicited ideas for future priorities for CFSB’s work. Ideas included:
- Work with the Waterfront dept. on the pigeon problem. Have them put back the wires on the beams underneath the pier.
- Take proactive measures to stem the decline of the sea urchin fishery. Engage on kelp forest restoration and purple urchin removal.
- Work to get VMS on sport boats and bring management of sport fishing to the level of commercial fisheries where appropriate due to equal or greater take by. sport vs. commercial.
- The West Channel Buoy needs enhanced maintenance. Can Mary Nishimoto help get the buoy tender up here?
5. Discussion on CFSB’s engagement in fisheries monitoring projects.
CFSB has put time into participating and/or providing feedback on several recent monitoring projects. These include giving constructive criticism to The Nature Conservancy about their push at the State level for electronic log books, participating in a shoreside digital image collection project by TNC using spiny lobster as a case study, and tracking the development of new electronic monitoring policy at the Council for the groundfish fishery.
The spiny lobster project will have a port meeting in the next month or so to overview the project to date and gather fishermen input on next steps.
The most concerning monitoring project going on is the Box Crab EFP process by the State. CFSB has been bird-dogging the Box Crab experimental fishery, which is being used by the Dept. as a testing ground to trial electronic monitoring systems for state fisheries. Because Chris Voss has a box crab permit, he is able to engage continually on the development of this EM project, and speaks forcefully against unbounded surveillance. Instead, Chris actively promotes the use of any monitoring to focus on gathering data on the size distribution of the catch. Size distribution is the basis of Spawning Potential Ratio (SPR) which has been shown to be a powerful, simple fisheries-dependent metric that indicates the health of the stock. Integrating SPR data collection into the State’s monitoring gives them robust data to make better management decisions that are more likely to be favorable to fisheries compared to weak data on mean weight of catch which is unreliable and requires more restrictive management.
Electronic monitoring is a new reality that we cannot ignore. CFSB leadership can speak with credibility about data collection and more forcefully influence the development of new monitoring because we are participating in it.
We noted that there has been no involvement by the Bren School at UCSB on any of these projects, including the lobster imagery project. Our intern, Nicholas Piper, was affiliated with the University of Delft in Holland, although he completed his undergraduate degree at UCSB. There has been no mention of partnership with the Bren School on the CFSB website in the past 3 years since Kim started managing the website.
6. At the Impact Investing conference we recently attended, two other speakers shared new technology of interest to fishermen.
1. A startup called Pelagic Data Systems has developed a GPS tracker being used in fisheries around the world instead of VMS. It does the same thing as VMS for a fraction of the cost, and allows fishermen access to their data easily.
2. A startup called Sofar Ocean has created a small, user-friendly underwater drone, essentially a remote controlled camera. They have prototypes they would like to get into the hands of fishermen to explore the ways in which this tool could be of use to commercial fishermen. Kim is coordinating meetings between the principals, Oran Arms and David Lang, and any fishermen interested in trialing a drone (no cost). You can check them out at sofarocean.com and contact Kim to get in touch with them.
7. Get Hooked update.
o Benefits to the Fishing Community as of July:
§ 530 additions to the CFSB/Sat Market mailing list
§ $4610 in $10 donations to CFSB. These are donations by the Get Hooked subscribers, meaning they are a tax write off for the subscribers only, with Get Hooked serving only as a pass through. We are choosing to donate to CFSB half of the $20 sign up fee each Get Hooked subscriber pays to us, instead of keeping it as profit. This may not be sustainable over the longer term, depending on the profitability of the CSF model, which is still unknown.
§ Bought $55,000 of seafood from 28 fishermen, about 80% of them operating out of SB harbor. Others in Moss Landing, San Diego and Channel Islands harbors.
§ 35% of subscribers say they are more likely to buy from the Saturday Fisherman’s market after joining Get Hooked. 48% no impact, 18% less likely (most of these do not currently visit the SFM more than 4x per year).
§ Provide kitchen employment for 1 fishermen, 4 members of the fishing community
§ Helped 3 fishermen with questions about commercial kitchens and licensing for direct marketing
o Recap of the relationship of CFSB and Get Hooked
§ CFSB put in a Letter of Support for the USDA grant. Other letters of support were also put in from TNC, The Chamber of Commerce, Santa Barbara Unified School District.
§ Get Hooked has increased the size of the CFSB email list, 3 fold (this helps for CFSB’s outreach and advocacy campaigns).
§ Part-time employment with Get Hooked for Kim offsets the need for Kim to find full time work with CFSB or elsewhere, and allows her to do fisheries outreach and networking that benefits CFSB at no cost to CFSB.
§ It provides opportunities for joint events and promotion of CFSB, such as hosting film screenings and barbecues.
CFSB board members noted that the benefits of the relationship of CFSB to Get Hooked outweigh the negatives at this time. If that balance were to reverse, CFSB would take steps to change the relationship.
8. Update from Mike McCorkle about CCCA – California Coast Crab Association
This is a recent group that formed in response to the Center for Biological Diversity’s lawsuit on whale entanglements. Their membership is fishermen and fishing businesses only, so there is no opportunity for CFSB to be a member as an organization. They are focused on funding legal support for the Dungeness crab fleet, with no plans for addressing needs in other fisheries as of yet. Mike suggested that supporting them now may lead to them supporting our crab fleet later if/when similar problems occur down here. See more at https://www.facebook.com/cacoastcrabassociation.org/
9. Tabled for next Board Meeting:
- Vote on renewing membership with the Chamber of Commerce for $700/yr.
- Vote on contributing $4000 matching funds to our $20,000 grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation. This contribution will create more capacity to work on finding a new boat yard and engaging the City on protecting infrastructure for fisheries.
Chris Voss closed the meeting at 6:45pm