**NEW ANNOUNCEMENT** September 2, 2014

The Seafood Watch Program updated 21 species of West Coast Groundfish to either a “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative” – many of these had been previously listed as a species to “Avoid”.  Go our “In the News” tab for more on this exciting story.

July 25, 2014

Morro Bay Community Quota Fund is in the news! Check out all our good press under the ‘In the News’ tab.

July 7, 2014

Check out the article about us in the New York Times: Creating a Safe Harbor for a Village Heritage

June 20, 2014

On June 20, 2014 the Morro Bay Community Quota Fund announced their successful acquisition of a portion of The Nature Conservancy’s fishing rights, securing permanent, local access and long-term viability of fishing for the community in Morro Bay.

The Morro Bay Community Quota Fund (MBCQF), a first of its kind nonprofit, will manage the fishing rights and will be overseen by community leaders, fishermen, scientists and economists committed to advancing an economically stable and environmentally sustainable fishery. The Fund will annually lease rights to local fishermen who commit to meeting a triple bottom line of environmental, economic, and social benefits.

Development of the MBCQF will allow leaders in Morro Bay to become empowered fishery stakeholders. We will work to make the Quota Fund a forum where local fishery issues can be discussed and solutions developed.  We will continue our effort to develop a vision for a future fishery that provides for our community, local fishing businesses and the marine environment which we depend on.  Organizing around such a vision for our fishery has allowed Morro Bay to more effectively participate in regulatory decisions, provide collaborative science input, and promote greater economic stability for businesses looking to invest in our working waterfront.  Finally, the MBCQF is committed to sharing what we learn by working with other communities interested in implementing similar reform measures of their fisheries.

The MBCQF was able to acquire fishing quota with a loan from the California Fisheries Fund (CFF). The CFF, an innovative fisheries finance program, provides loans to fishermen, fish buyers, processors and distributors who are dedicated to sustainability.

April 17, 2014

Morro Bay City Council Approves Fishing Community Sustainability Plan! Read the Staff Report Here.

The Morro Bay Community Quota Fund (MBCQF) is a public benefit non-profit corporation intended to permanently secure fishing privileges historically associated with the Central Coast. The long term goal of the CQF is to ensure a financially stable and environmentally sustainable Morro Bay fishery, built upon local stewardship of groundfish resources, sufficient fishing activity to support marine dependent infrastructure and services in Morro Bay, and  provide for the next generation of smaller boat fishermen.   Under it’s broader “triple bottom line” mission (social, economic and environmental) the CQF will also engage in collaborative research to improve scientific knowledge and support local fisheries.

photo credit: Lisa Wise Consulting

The trawl Sector of the West Coast Groundfish fishery was put into an Individual transferable quota (ITQ) management system on Jan. 1, 2011.  There is already evidence that the ITQ system has lead to a reduction in bycatch and will lead to the overall improvement of economic and environmental performance of the fishery. However, history has shown that the increased costs of participating in this fishery with ready transferability of Quota will drive consolidation of the existing fishery to fewer larger vessels in the strongest market ports.  We have created this fund to counter the consolidation effect and preserve our working waterfront and traditional commercial fishing culture.  While we can secure a minimum level of the historic landings in our area, more will need to be done collectively to reduce smaller vessel costs, improve local market conditions, develop innovative strategies to lower bycatch/Overfished Species (OFS) interactions, and collectively achieve economies of scale.

The CQF is committed to addressing the following issues in the West Coast Trawl ITQ program at this time:

  • The CQF will work to reduce monitoring costs, especially for smaller vessels. The cost of maintaining 100% human observers can effectively force elimination of smaller vessels from the industry. The CQF supports NMFS adoption of a cost effective electronic monitoring (EM) program in place of 100% human observers. A White Paper on the consolidation effect of not reducing the 100% human observers  monitoring cost  is located under the “Documents” link to the left of the screen.
  • The CQF supports efforts to refinance the existing loan funding the 2003 Pacific coast Groundfish Fishery Fishing Capacity Reduction Program.  Currently the interest rate on this loan is 6.95% which creates an unfair cost burden on trawl fishery participants through excessive landing assessments.
  • The CQF has begun working with industry representatives on marketing strategies to improve fishermen’s ‘at-the-boat’ prices and California consumer access to fresh local seafood.  The CQF will work with buyers, NGO’s  and consumer groups to further marketing and branding of fresh California seafood.
  • The CQF will work to strengthen the Groundfish Risk Pool that helps fishermen adapt to the regulatory constraint of tight limits on Overfished Species (OFS) Quota, and design fishing plans aimed at avoiding bycatch of OFS. This work will provide better access to traditional trawl species that are limited due to OFS interaction and will facilitate innovation in gear and fishing methods to harvest robust fish stocks that are currently underutilized, and add to the overall groundfish “value” equation without taking from landings elsewhere.
  • The CQF will work to have the West Coast Trawl ITQ program adopt an exception to the ownership control limits for Community Fishing Associations, to allow community oriented non-profits such as the CQF accumulate sufficient Quota Shares (QS) to collectively manage costs and create local economies of scale.