Humboldt Currents Summer 2014

Casey AllenHumboldt Currents, Marine Protected Areas

The Pacific halibut economic study for the North Coast of California is, regardless of the outcome, proving to be another example of a community working together. HASA, HSU, Sea Grant, Ecotrust, the Harbor District, and CDFW are working closely to determine if the allowable catch of Pacific halibut for Northern California can be increased to effectively eliminate the block closure. The issue has been detailed by Tom Marking and others elsewhere in this newsletter, on and the Humboldt Tuna Club discussion board. We plan to package the economic study with the Pacific halibut catch survey (Perkins 2013), and the International Pacific Halibut Commission’s (IPHC) trawl survey for 2013 and present it to the IPHC and the PFMC later this year.

The recreational fishing portion of the economic survey is being conducted by Ecotrust. They have experience in our area working with the MLPA. The business economic survey is being done by HSU grad student Miki Takada and she is advised by Professor Tim Mulligan. Miki is new to the North Coast. She grew up near the ocean in San Diego and brings a double major in politics and film and a master’s degree in international affairs with an emphasis on environmental policy. She says, “The opportunity to work on the halibut project fell into my lap unexpectedly late last week. Given my prior educational experience in environmental policy and my future goal of working with stakeholders to help fisheries become more sustainable (hopefully here and in Japan), I am very excited about this project. I look forward to meeting some of you as part of this project, and if you ever see me walking around downtown Eureka picking up trash (because I don’t want it to end up in our ocean or bay) with my grabbers and a bright orange bucket, please stop by and say hi.”

We are hoping to receive the same kind of participation we experienced with Liz Perkin’s catch survey. The online or paper survey is easy to fill out and the more entries we have the more accurate data we will accrue. Please only fill out one survey each, but also please spread the word so everyone fills one out. Paper copies are available for those without internet access, contact any board member.

The Humboldt Offshore Reef Project gained some ground this month after a meeting between our environmental consultant, Adam Wagschal (H. T. Harvey and Associates), and officials at the State Lands Commission. The face to face meeting was to determine the requirements in filling out the State Lands lease application. “The meeting was productive and staff at state lands seems generally supportive of getting this project through,” wrote Adam. His next step is updating our lease application. Once submitted, approvals could come or we could get more requirements to meet.

Humboldt Bay Bar Pilot, Captain John Powell turned me on to a new NOAA website called PORTS ( The site provides real time data and predictions on the tides and currents in and around Humboldt Bay and other harbors. There are sensors deployed in the water collecting real data on the environmental conditions. This information can be invaluable to first time or infrequent visitors to Humboldt Bay. It will also help Humboldt Bay users gain local knowledge once only obtained by on- the-water experience. Designed for professionals plying bay waters, the site will help recreational users understand the relationship between local tides and currents. Knowing what to expect is key to planning a safe trip on bay waters and beyond.

HASA is engaged with the MPA Collaborative Implementation Project which operates under the Ocean Protection Council and the CDFW. Their mission is “to facilitate the evolution of locally based stewardship councils for effective, on the ground management of California’s marine protected areas.”
Their goal is: “to create community partnerships, or collaborative, to provide a localized, comprehensive approach to MPA implementation by bringing together local experts and authorities in the areas of outreach and education, enforcement, and research and monitoring.” Research and monitoring has started with various local groups performing baseline studies in and around the marine protected areas and affected communities. The goals of some of the proposed studies had to be reduced because of budget constraints. They received $9 million worth of proposals but only had $4 million to work with. Negotiations were conducted to cover all projects and ecosystems while staying within the current budget limitations.

Enforcement will be bolstered by the creation of citizen watch groups. This approach has been successful in reducing abalone poaching and has saved the CDFW valuable resources. Outreach and education will likely be the area HASA will be involved with. We have offered volunteers to assist with the baseline monitoring projects, but more importantly, we will continue to provide information in the HASA newsletter on developments with baseline studies of marine protected areas. We will provide information and promote compliance to MPA regulations. We would like the give the citizen watch groups nothing to report. We will work to encourage the Collaborative Implementation managers to take steps to realize the original goals of the MLPA, that MPA’s will be life generating engines.

We continue to hear complaints about boat wakes in the Eureka Channel Inner Reach (see map below). We are trying to get the word out – to educate boaters – that they are responsible for their boat wake and their boat wake can cause damage to other vessels and the shoreline. There are enough complaints to cause the Sheriff Department to increase marine patrols. Those resources could be more useful elsewhere. Please talk about the no wake zone with your friends and don’t be afraid to tell your captains if they forget. One suggestion is to expand the no wake zone to include all of the channel between Eureka and Indian Island. The area gets a lot of boat traffic including kayaks, canoes, rowing sculls, and sail boats and there are more reports of conflicts. Please let us know what you think with an email to 

No Wake map