As my blog begins to take shape, I hope to use it as a forum to discuss important and timely issues facing the fishing industry. Next week a major regulatory decision will be made by the Pacific Fishery Management Council to decide on a “Preferred Alternative” for how the West Coast seafood industry is managed. The decision will have a major impact on preserving the economic viability of the seafood industry, including coastal communities and jobs throughout Oregon, Washington and California. Naturally, this is an issue of great importance to me and to Pacific Seafood.

Along with the Coastal Jobs organization, seafood industry leaders, restaurant owners and local businesses, I believe a balanced approach to an Individual Quota system is crucial. A shared market quota system will not only end the current “race for fish”, but will also ensure protection of groundfish stocks, stabilize prices for consumers, and encourage environmental stewardship, while recognizing all stakeholders in the seafood industry – from fishermen and processors to the coastal communities that rely on the seafood industry and the jobs it provides.

In June, the Council voted on a Preferred Alternative granting 20% quota share to processors and 80% to harvesters. Although not the optimum result for either of the primary stakeholders, the preliminary vote did reflect a reasonable compromise and I sincerely hope the Council’s final vote in November maintains this. The seafood industry is at stake.