Mike Conroy, a longtime California captain and executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, is joining the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance to lead its work representing fishermen on offshore wind energy development.
The PCFFA is the largest organization of commercial fishermen and women on the West Coast, and has been on the frontline of speaking for the industry as the federal government and state of California surge forward with offshore wind development planning.
“I am very much looking forward to joining the talented group of folks at RODA as we continue to speak for and with America’s seafood harvesters, processors, dependent fishing communities and all those who consume sustainable, healthy, domestically sourced protein,” Conroy said in a prepared statement Sept. 6.
Conroy brings to RODA his knowledge and experience from years working on the water, operating commercial and charter fishing vessels. Conroy is also a licensed attorney in the State of California whose practice focused on small businesses, fisheries management and policy, and administrative processes.
He currently serves as vice chair of the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Highly Migratory Species Advisory Subpanel, and co-chair of the council’s Marine Planning Committee.
In his early career Conroy grew up crewing on charter fishing boats in Southern California and worked his way up to the wheelhouse. At 23 Conroy started law school, while continuing to fish when time allowed.
The law led him to years of working in the technology sector as in-house counsel, until Conroy made a career shift back to his fishing roots. Working various commercial fisheries off the Southern California coast, he saw how the industry was under-represented, especially to regulatory agencies and lawmakers.
That recognition led Conroy to form a specialized consulting firm focused on the needs of the fishing industry, and in 2020 the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations chose Conroy as its new executive director.
Conroy has worked with practically every fishery along the California coast. He has been involved in West Coast offshore wind issues since the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management three outlined three call areas were identified off California in late fall of 2018.
Conroy is also involved with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s planning effort to identify and establish aquaculture opportunity areas within the Southern California Bight.
“We are excited to bring Mike aboard. We strongly believe his knowledge and experience will help RODA increase our activities on the West Coast and federally, creating better representation for fishermen and their communities,” said Annie Hawkins, executive director of RODA.
“The overwhelming show of support from across the seafood industry for expanding our coalition underscores the importance of our mission, to coordinate science and policy approaches to offshore development that minimize conflicts with existing traditional and historical fishing.”