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The Fort Bragg Advocate has a story on Mendo coast fishermen trying to squeeze some money in a market where they sell fish on the dock to distributors for about a dollar a pound then the same fish shows up in the grocery store for over 10 times that amount. The groundfish fleet is trying to maintain some solidarity to rectify the situation.
Prices have been flat for 10 years despite rising costs in everything else, said Tommy Ancona, owner of Tommy’s Marine in Fort Bragg and president of the Fisherman’s Marketing Association.
The association represents many of the 157 boats that fish the West Coast. Ancona said 140 boats are now tied up and not fishing, some of which are not association members but are willing to forego fishing to remedy the rates.
There are only a half dozen companies that buy groundfish, including Fort Bragg based Caito Fisheries. Ancona said more than half the market is controlled by Pacific Choice Seafood of Eureka, which maintains buying stations all over the West Coast, including Fort Bragg. He said there are seven boats in Noyo Harbor now tied up, as part of the price effort that started March 1.
Unlike salmon or bass, groundfish (cod, sole, snapper, etc.) are caught all year with some breaks between two-month seasons. I’m one of those weirdos who actually prefers the taste of ling cod to salmon, but apparently it’s not that much of a better deal for the consumer anyway.
I seem to remember a similar huge middleman take issue with milk a few years back. Can anybody explain the economics involved?
Ling cod photo from Hood, Sport, & Dive.
Some topics of local interest for discussion.
First off, it looks like the county just can’t let go of the suit against Bob McKee over Tooby Ranch. Because I have clients involved, I won’t comment. But McKee’s attorneys having recently won a motion to compel the deposition of Second District Supervisor Roger Rodoni, I wonder if they’re looking for an appellate stay to buy time.
The Times-Standard article on the demise of the local fishing industry raises some questions.
Pellegrini, wife of longtime Eureka fisherman Paul Pellegrini, told members of the Humboldt Taxpayers’ League on Wednesday that she expects the fleet to continue to shrink over the next decade with stricter regulations and industry troubles.
So what are the “industry troubles?” Fish depletion and lower prices. She later says, ”the problem is the industry got really good at catching fish.” This is what my relatives who fish out of Crescent City also say. So the problem is basically that the fishing industry is over-regulated and out of control. Can somebody explain that?
Meanwhile, the Teamsters are busy with striking lawyers to the south, and creamery workers to the north. The creamery workers rejected the latest management contract offer. The lawyers are going to mediation.
Southfork High School’s gym improvements drew the attention of the Times Standard.
And in a story for which I’ll have more comment at a later time, the Arcata Marsh is under regulatory attack. Whether it is in fact an environmentally safe means of dealing with waste, and whether it actually harms the Bay, the Water Resources Control Board says that the system violates the law. Looks like another local public entity will be fighting a court battle. Seems to be an epidemic.