I am a commissioner on the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, an industry-funded agency and part of the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Commission Program. Among our other responsibilities to the fishing fleet, we have been charged with the enhancement of the image of the Dungeness crab industry, and to increase opportunities for profitability through promotion, education and research.
An additional requirement is the sustainability of the industry as a whole. The Oregon Dungeness crab fishery is one of the most sustainable fisheries and the most valuable ‘single-species’ fishery in Oregon. The issues of Wave Energy development along with the proposed Marine Reserves off of the Oregon coast have prompted the fishing industries to make sure our concerns are heard and taken into account.
Position statement on Wave Energy development and
Marine Reserves in Oregon’s Territorial Sea
Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission
While we are not opposed to the orderly development of ‘alternative’ sources of renewable energy and we support the maintenance of healthy ocean ecosystems, the environmental, ecological, biological and socio-economic impacts of any proposed new uses of Oregon’s near-shore waters inside of three miles must be thoroughly studied before historically important fishing grounds are removed from production through long-term leases in support of yet-to-be-proven technologies or ‘set asides’ based on unfunded mandates, debatable science and questionable need.
The early stages of the rush to harness wave energy along the Oregon coastline highlight the fishing industry’s concerns over both the pace and manner in which this technology is being promoted as a viable use of ocean real estate that currently supports sustainable, well-managed fisheries so crucial to healthy coastal economies. To risk displacement of a segment of the commercial fishing fleet that presently accounts for a significant percentage of the landed value of the state’s seafood resource is shortsighted and fails to take into consideration the traditional values that have long embodied the spirit of the Oregon Coast and its residents.
Siting and location of both Wave Energy facilities and Marine Reserves must be done with careful consideration of the impacts to the fishing fleet and in a manner that endeavors to minimize disruption of this proven economic driver in coastal communities.