By Neil Farrell
Just a few months after the lone trawl fisherman pulled up stakes and left Morro Bay, a new fisherman is set to relocate here and work the local community quota and help keep the local industry alive.
Dwayne Oberhoff , executive director for the Morro Bay Community Quota Fund, the non-profit organization in charge of the local catch shares, announced that Capt. Kyle Pemberton of the CFV Moriah Lee out of Half Moon Bay has agreed to move his operation to Morro Bay and work the Quota Fund’s holdings in the West Coast Groundfish Fishery.
Pemberton, “Will focus his efforts on trawling for species such as sablefish, Petrale and Dover sole, rockfish and thorny heads,” Oberhoff said, “and he will be landing his catch locally in Morro Bay.”
He will replace Capt. Rob Seitz of the CFV South Bay, who had been fishing the local quota for the past 5 years, but at the end of March, gave it up and returned home to Astoria, Ore., to resume fishing there.
While Seitz ran up against what everyone acknowledges is an expensive and complicated fishery that includes bringing aboard $500 per day “observers” with them on every trip, Oberhoff said Pemberton, “is committed to running his business in line with goals of the MBCQF such as engaging in collaborative fisheries research and using sustainable fishing practices. Mr. Pemberton understands he is entering a complex and challenging fishery, but he will receive valuable assistance and guidance from the Morro Bay Community Quota Fund.”
Begun in 2011, the MBCQF is annually allocated more than 8 million pounds of quota and since 2014, has worked with 35 different fishing operations along the West Coast; and of those, four were local fishermen that have landed over 1.6 million pounds of fish valued at more than $1.9 million.
The Quota Fund is in partnership with community quota organizations in Half Moon Bay and Ft. Bragg but quota can be sold to any fisherman on the West Coast (Washington, Oregon and California).
“The Morro Bay Community Quota Fund is excited to have Mr. Pemberton and his fishing operation come to Morro Bay to provide our community with fresh local seafood and provide critical landings that will help preserve our local fishing industry and heritage,” Oberhoff said.
Because trawlers and the groundfish fishery work year-round and in general bring in the most plentiful species, it is essentially the backbone of many small ports like Morro Bay, and is needed to ensure the local fish buying docks are kept busy and a supply of fresh local fish is available for restaurants and fish markets.
For more about the MBCQF, see: www.morrobaycommunityquotafund.org.