Discussion about Port projects with Mike Conroy January 30 2019

Mike Conroy is a fisheries consultant with a long history of engagement on behalf of fisheries such as squid, lobster, albacore and sportfish. His business is called West Coast Fisheries Consultants.

We invited Mike to share with us his insights about port infrastructure projects because of his expertise in the subject developed on various projects around the state, including the San Diego port redevelopment process that is engaging fishermen through the San Diego Fisherman’s Working Group.

CFSB has a new grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation to assess our portside infrastructure needs over the next year, in particular, to determine a long-term or permanent home for CFSB’s 10,000 sq. foot boatyard. This boatyard is located on private property in the Funk Zone and is at risk of development. We are looking for insights on how to have a productive relationship with city government to problemsolve fisheries space needs, and learn about the creative financial, legal and organizational vehicles and structures that are being implemented elsewhere to establish renewed fisheries capacity and enterprise in California’s fishing ports.

Mike gave a powerpoint presentation that I have converted to PDF. Click here to view it.

I took a few additional notes about the discussion, below


There is a requirement that a port can’t reduce space for fisheries without showing that there is a reduction in need/use. They are required to do a study.


Its important to point out that the use is continuing despite huge new hurdles and decline in quality and condition of the economic landscape for fishing.


Stress the need for redundancies – can’t have just 1 working hoist in a harbor.


Also assess the future scenarios of changes to fisheries and port usage.


The Port of San Diego and the developer they are working with will create a 30,000 sqft building to house a fisherman’s co-op, wetfish pump, processing space for Santa Monica Seafoods and a hoist.  There will also be a grow-out area for mussels and live tanks for holding.


What is working about the San Diego Working Group? Compromise, avoiding antagonism, using buzz words.


Talk to Kenny Bates about the fight over dredging money.  What are the rules on how many boats must use a harbor in order to allocate dredging funds?


Find out from SB Waterfront Dept. what will happen with our Harbor Master Plan? Is it a requirement for every harbor to have a master plan? Is the concept that our HMP is ‘subsumed’ by the new Local Coastal Plan also a technical and official switch? How does that change jurisdictional oversight and pathways of recourse for getting involved in how it is implemented, evaluated and updated?


Check out Altasea in San Pedro – a Blue Tech company with an EDA grant


Younger fishermen do not have access to private property on which to store their gear and their boats during the off season. CFSB could do an assessment of where fishermen are leasing space in avocado ranches and other affordable locations. As the older generation that established strong relationships with these landholders retire, it may be hard for young guys to find out about these places and establish the trust required to be granted access and a sublease.


Jason Woods spoke about the deterioration of Channel Islands Harbor, and the trend to remove fishing infrastructure at that port. Mike had some suggestions for angles to take in fighting that trend.

Audience in attendance:

Gary Burke, Mike Nelson, Shane Robinson, Travis Riggs, Mike McCorkle, Chris Voss, Craig Brooker, David Bacon, Jim Marshall, Jeff Maassen, Jason Woods, John Richards, Carrie Pomeroy, Carrie Culver, Andy Rassmussen, Thomas Dabney.