California Coastal Commission Offshore Wind Power Permitting Condition 7C -
Formation of the 7C Fishermen’s Working Group Committee
The California Coastal Commission in its Th8a staff report concerning the permitting of OSW development in state and federal waters presents, as a condition for permitting, the requirement that “BOEM and state agencies facilitate a working group consisting of fishing representatives, offshore wind industry representatives and state and federal agency staff to develop the components of a strategy including a Fishing Agreement Template”. The report goes on to state that “fishermen, OSW developers and state and federal agencies will need to work collaboratively towards a common strategy to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to the fishing industry in a consistent and equitable manner”. Here, the commission is advocating for a statewide policy for wind power permitting that requires “consistent and equitable” protections for the entire fishing industry and coastal fishing communities.
How did this come about?
Much of this language and the thoughts behind it are the direct result of the lack of a statewide definition of subsea cable agreements. At present (starting in 1999), state agency permitting conditions require a “Fishing Agreement” between fishermen and subsea cable operators. This requirement consists of a single sentence. It does not define what an agreement consists of, who it protects, what or who qualifies as a fisherman, whether the agreement is broadly inclusive or narrowly exclusive. Because of the vast ocean areas involved, the potential long term OSW impacts involved, and the commission’s understanding of what is at stake for commercial fishermen, three things have happened so far: first, the formation of the California Fishermen’s Resiliency Association via Coastal Commission support and financial support from Ocean Protection Council, second, the beginning of the formation of the 7C Working Group. And third and equally important, is that the commission is advocating for “industry to Industry '' contractual agreements as a direct result of ongoing efforts of the Alliance of Communities for Sustainable Fisheries, the Morro and Avila Bay Fishermen’s Association, and CFRA Member Associations.
What should fishermen expect and demand during the 7C Working group process?
That the 7C Working Group should convene ASAP
That the 7C Working Group develop a statewide strategy for avoidance, minimization, and mitigation of impacts to fishing and fisheries that prioritizes fisheries’ productivity, viability, and long term resilience.
That the above goals are accomplished through state and fishermen supported industry to industry contractual agreement between fishing legal entities (eg. 501 C 3 or 501 C 6 type organizations) and OSW developers. These nonprofit fishing legal entities must be democratic and broad based within the State of California
That industry to industry agreements employ the FCBA template document signed by sixteen fishermen’s associations as reflected in the two FCBA draft contracts produced by the CFRA at the request of the Ocean Protection Council.
That no permits for site survey be issued by California State Agencies until the execution of an FCBA between the appropriate fishing legal entities and individual developers
That the term of the 7C Working Group be extended to encompass the term and lifespan of each BOEM wind power lease.
CFRA 7C Comment Letters
California Coastal Commission Offshore Wind Power Permitting Condition 7C - Formation of the 7C Fishermen’s Working Group Committee
California Coastal Commission Public Comment Letters -
Nov 8, 2023
Letter to Kearns & West
re: launch of 7c working group
Letter to California Coastal Commission with Suggestions re: 7C Working Group