Ken Bates, vice president of the Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association voiced concerns about the impact of offshore wind farms, and Laurie Richmond, an associate professor at Humboldt State University, presented the city with a fishing community sustainability plan.
“California is switching over to renewable energy sources and fishermen are not opposed to the switch,” Bates said.
Bates, who has been working with the Redwood Coast Energy Authority in their bid for an offshore wind project understands the inevitability of offshore wind projects and is ultimately hoping to get ahead of the curve, he said.
One of Bates’ primary concerns is how the leases required for offshore wind power will lock out fishing vessel operation through the need for transit lanes and fishing lanes, which start from the shore and can be miles wide, as well as the space taken up from lease arrangements at large.
“It could be as much as 100 square miles,” he said. “Those areas will be taken out of production.”
“We’re not asking these companies to go away,” he said. “What we are asking for is the (opportunity) to negotiate with them business to business before the city or the county would approve these projects.”
Councilwoman Natalie Arroyo said, “We’d be happy to provide some indication of support backing the [Humboldt] Fishermen’s Marketing Association. I look forward to learning more.”
Laurie Richmond, an associate professor at HSU later presented the council with a draft of a fishing community sustainability plan. Richmond, who was the principal investigator in crafting the report, said its purpose was to take a proactive approach that engages the future of the fishing industry, rather than being reactive.
“This takes a holistic view of sustainability,” she said. “It thinks about social and economic sustainability as well, not just the environment.”
Richmond said a plan was made for Eureka as well as Shelter Cove. In crafting the plan for Eureka, 62 local stakeholders were involved, she said.
She added that it was important to note that despite popular opinion, the fishing industry is not declining, and has actually seen a slight rise.
A draft of the plans can be found at https://rjd255.wixsite.com/humboldtfishplan.
Philip Santos can be reached at 707-441-0506