Opinion: Preserving San Mateo's fishing industry

For decades, the San Mateo County Harbor Patrol has provided emergency response on both the Bay and the ocean. Through its highly trained Harbor Patrol, the Harbor District is the only agency that stations search and rescue vessels on the coast. Emergency response is vital for recreational boating, commercial fishing, surfing, kayaking, kiteboarding and windsurfing. The Harbor Patrol saves lives and, for this reason and many others, the Harbor District is a necessary special district. But sometimes what’s most important gets lost in the shuffle of upper management and contentious board meetings.

Does a vibrant local fishing industry add to your quality of life? If so, you should know fees at Pillar Point Harbor are so high that some of our commercial fishermen are going to ports in other counties.

In 2012, Harbor Commissioners Jim Tucker, Robert Bernardo and Will Holsinger approved the highest fish buying fees in California and local fishermen are outraged over it.

Commercial fisherman Steve Fitz, and the HMB Seafood Marketing Association, oppose the new fees for fish offloaded at Johnson Pier. No other harbor in the state imposes fees as high as those at Pillar Point. Monterey Harbor charges much lower fees and Pier 45 in San Francisco does not charge any fees.

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