Morro Bay and Monterey are sharing a $135,000 grant that will help both cities protect their historic working waterfronts.
The grant is from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and will be used to continue long-term planning efforts aimed at creating sustainable family-owned fishing businesses in both cities.
San Luis Obispo-based Lisa Wise Consulting was awarded the contract to develop a Fishing Community Sustainability Plan for each city. Monterey’s plan will be developed first, followed by Morro Bay’s sometime later this year.
Each plan will be the subject of a public workshop in each city and each city council will have a chance to revise and adopt their respective plans. No date has been set for the Morro Bay public workshop, said Rick Algert, the city’s retired harbor manager who is leading the city’s fisheries project.
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Commercial fishermen in smaller ports like Morro Bay and Monterey have struggled in recent years under increased regulations, business costs and competition from less-regulated international fisheries in addition to tourism ventures supplanting fishing businesses.
The trawl fishery along the West Coast recently transitioned to an individual quota system. There is a danger that these quotas could migrate away from Morro Bay to larger ports, Algert said.
Communities like Morro Bay are responding by meeting the public’s strong demand for fresh, locally and sustainably caught seafood. Smaller fishing towns are also responding by banding together in community fishing associations that promote efficiency and cost-sharing.
Work on these projects will be completed next year.