Cap and trade coming to Morro Bay commercial fishing
December 31, 2013
A program that allows commercial fishermen in Morro Bay to buy and sell fish catch quotas will take effect Wednesday. [KSBY]
The “Catch and Share” system of capping the amount of fish that commercial fishermen can catch took effect two years ago in order to curb overfishing. Starting in 2014, fishermen can sell their quotas to the highest bidder.
Some Morro Bay fishermen say the new system will allow large, out-of-area companies to buy their competition out of business.
“These things are often promoted by the big and powerful,” said Morro Bay fisherman Mark Tognazzini. “In the old days, a guy could work hard, go fishing and build up a reputation for a great quality product and now you have to buy it.”
Nature Conservancy spokesman Michael Bell did not dispute that the quota selling program could put small, local fishermen out of business.
“You have this consolidation effect, and these traditional fishing communities have lost access,” Bell said.
But, the recovery of fish populations and ecosystems has been a positive effect, he said.
To comply with the system, fishermen must now include federally certified observers on their commercial fishing expeditions to monitor catch amounts.