By Nicole David, Marine Biologist
We are extremely fortunate in San Mateo County to live on the shore of the beautiful Pacific Ocean, which provides a bountiful supply of fresh local seafood that offers excellent nutrition and a low carbon footprint.
The fishing industry it supports greatly benefits the county economy, including Pillar Point Harbor's many fishing families; stores, markets, and restaurants that sell fish; recreational fishermen; tourism; and more.
The San Mateo County Harbor District also benefits directly from revenue generated from these activities. Unfortunately, the district mismanages this source of revenue. The district has imposed the highest fees in California on the companies that buy fish from fishing boats and then distribute them to stores, markets, and restaurants.
Ultimately, these high fees are passed on to consumers. These high fees also reduce profits for fishing businesses, and drive fishing boats to offload their catch at rival ports in San Francisco and Monterey.
In response to sharp criticism by fishermen and the public last year, the district limited public participation by suspending video coverage of its biweekly meetings—a decision it reversed eight months later.
The district should work to promote this valuable and sustainable sector of our economy. The district should reconsider its fee structures to promote (rather than discourage) use of its facilities, provide fair treatment of all fishing companies on Johnson Pier, and make decisions in the public interest by soliciting and carefully considering public input.