San Diego’s fishermen received some tentatively good news yesterday, Monday, 6/5/2017, from the Port of San Diego. In their now regular (bi-weekly) meeting with the Central Embarcadero developer, attending Port of San Diego representative Lesley Nishihira, Senior Land Use Planner, communicated that more time has been granted by the Port for consideration of potential commercial fishing land and water zoning changes. The new time-frame for detailed zone definition in Port Master Plan Update is now early September (potentially 9/8/2017), a change from mid-July, 2017.
A BIG SINCERE THANK YOU to all who publicly commented at the Port of San Diego’s Integrated Planning Port Master Plan Update Workshop on Thursday, 4/27/2017, and who have otherwise echoed the fishermen’s concerns with the Port since then. These comments are known to have definitively influenced the Port’s decision to extend the Master Plan Update review period. While the delay is by no means a guarantee that land and water zoning designations will ultimately be favorable to the continued viability and growth of San Diego’s fishing industry, it certainly allows for more careful response of the industry’s needs by all concerned.
A new ACTION ALERT is regarding a Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Budget Change Proposal (BCP) for an increase in commercial fish landing taxes (now being referred to as “fees”) by as much as 1300%. See the attached copy of an opposition letter sent to Legislative Leaders on May, 11, 2017. All the entities who signed the letter are agreed, the tax increases will not only destroy the economic margins of California fishermen and processors, but also have a profound effect on local coastal economies. The State of California’s Legislative Budget Conference Committee met yesterday and discussed the proposal, identified as item 3600. The Department of Finance said it is talking with budget staff to strike the appropriate increase; however there was no definitive response to the industry’s opposition. Outreach in the way of phone calls to members of the Budget Conference Committee would be helpful, especially the Committee Co-chair, Senator Holly Mitchell, requesting an increase of no more than 97% -- the rate of inflation since the last adjustment -- for all but sardines (the tax rate for these already adjusted) . See coalition letter.
Budget Conference Committee Member
Senator Holly Mitchell, D, LA, Co-Chair
Assemblyman Phil Ting, D, SF, Co-Chair
Senator Ricardo Lara, D, Vernon
Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D, Sacramento
Senator Richard Roth, D, Riverside
Assemblyman Phillip Chen, R, Diamond Bar
Senator Jim Nielsen, R, Sacramento and northern counties
Assemblyman Jay Olbernolte, R, San Bernardino
Senator John Moorlach, R, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Laguna
Assemblywoman Shirley Webber (PHD) , D, Chula Vista
Thanks again to all whose comments have amplified the fishermen’s concerns, winning the extension of time for more in-depth commercial fishing land and water zoning consideration with respect to the Port Master Plan Update.
Hopefully our next update will include a fishermen’s sketch, clearly showing their collective vision for the Future of Tuna Harbor, with respect to commercial fishing operations. This visionary, collaborative sketch is expected to help further inform detailed design underway by the Gafcon team, as well as a Fisheries Analysis/Commercial Fishing Plan Update document now being prepared on behalf of the fishermen, developer and Port. Concurrent progress on the fishermen’s visionary sketch, design efforts by the developer and drafting of the Fisheries Analysis/Commercial Fishing Plan Update document is expected through July and into August, while the Port continues its Port Master Plan Update activities, through the summer months.
Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with any questions, suggestions or concerns regarding the Future of Tuna Harbor at any time.
Cindy Quinonez, Co-Chair,
San Diego Food System Alliance
Sustainable Local Seafood System Work Group
TUNA HARBOR IS OUR ANCHOR, LET’S KEEP TUNA HARBOR THRIVING, LET'S KEEP TUNA HARBOR FISHING!