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Friday, May 24, 2013

San Diego Fishing Industry and the Theory of Transactional Clusters




San Diego has a long and deep history as a waterfront paradise that boasts a history of innovation and bio-based development. Using local fishing activities as a case sample, it is possible to obtain a glimpse of a much bigger system at play that when both resonate in sync profound economic growth can result. "Sync" in this case means bringing the right economic elements into a dynamic organism and feeding them with the right legislative environment that mushrooms growth.

The report will discuss San Diego as a fishing entity but also explore the basic underpinnings of economy through the small fishing fleet in the area. The example will help define economic clusters that create international hubs and come to some conclusions. The case review moves from a specific example of clustered fishing networks to larger economic development of a region. Some suggestions on how to improve both are offered toward the end of the work.

As the report is exploratory in nature it won't look well connected until the end. Multiple attempts at editing and connecting concepts will be made to make the basic principles of the study relevant and clear to understand. During the research phase there will be a Hodge Podge of different bits and pieces of information that may not be formatted or well connected. As the study becomes more refined gaps will be filled in, useless information removed, and clarity improved.

The report uses inductive reasoning that moves from the specific to the broad to generate conclusions. The benefit of using inductive reasoning is that it explores the phenomenon using the vantage point of small business owners and a fishing clusters to determine how a larger system needs to adjust to ensure the entire hub runs more effectively. Government officials and industry stakeholders have an inherent interest in developing these hubs to improve opportunity.

By breaking down larger economic problems into digestible chunks makes it easier to determine which mechanics are working and under what conditions. The knowledge is used to create a new model of economic activity and support existing models through the creation of relevant conclusions. Whether the findings are ground breaking or show similarities with other models still has positive benefits for creating a body of knowledge.

Knowledge is used to create innovations. Innovations in the way we think about the economy and methods that improve it has a great benefit for people in society. You must only imagine how new economic models impact government decisions, business investment, or our way of seeing the world to understand the potential long-term impact of people's lives.

According to the The Global Competitiveness Report 2014/2015 the U.S. is improving in its global business competitiveness (WEF, 2014). Its strengths lay in the ability to develop innovation through the sharing of knowledge and information to create new products and services. The same process can occur in fishing networks or in business networks which pushes industry to develop. Understanding how information and resources are shared, connected, combined, reconstructed, and redeveloped creates a better formulation of economic policy.

The perspective of small fishing clusters are based on social-economic networks, the clusters that make up a hub, and hubs that enhance national development are offered. Each perspective is designed to show how economic systems are rooted in small networks throughout the country that when forced to develop off of each other  go through a chaotic transformation that strengthens their functioning and contributes to national development. 

Each cluster is a collective of people that uses existing mental schema to make decisions that lead to individual and collective gain. Fundamental cultural characteristics of our society influence how we view our environment and economic options. Our very choices over something as simple as how we spend our pay checks will determine the success of our system. 

It may seem a little far fetched to make a broad connection between the influence cultural schema and success but they are nevertheless real. Economic systems are based in millions, or even billions, of choices to choose product A over product B that leads to profit. It is those choices that determine which companies will be successful and those that won't. Companies that build products people want are chosen by companies more often and contribute to the economy.

The accumulated profits of an economic hub will determine whether or not it will get stronger or weaker. Think of the Rust Belt and how a large percentage of smaller economic choices over the years, deciding where and how to invest money, led to a loss of business, investment overseas, and eventual shrinkage of its once great manufacturing cities. These decisions were not based in a single incident but in millions of choices, from thousands of people, that led to non-competitive industries. 

To ensure cities become relevant in the future it is necessary to think beyond our own borders and innovate to the global economy. We cannot succeed if we continue to make choices that do not push businesses to adapt and change. Constant innovation is the only method by which an economy can maintain a leading position as an international place of investment and opportunity.

We often focus our policy making on large companies and corporations that have the financial capacity to influence our legislative decisions. Some have argued that such decisions have a profound impact in skewing adaptability. Healthy societies have a balance of businesses and ensure the environment supports fundamental entrepreneurial activities. 

 Large corporations are important but are fed through the adaptability of smaller businesses and individual entrepreneurs that seek to profit off of their ideas. Constant innovation, adaptation, and integration works like a pipeline from a business idea that becomes realized in tangible form and in turn creates profitable businesses that either continue to grow or are bought out by larger organizations.

Proper political decision making should consider the long term needs of society by developing environments with the greatest amount of innovative behavior.  Designing frameworks that connect with the multiple layers of society that include the individuals that make up the social structure of a nation, small businesses that feeds entrepreneurship, the labor that builds the products, the intellectuals that think the ideas, and the large corporations that penetrate international markets is beneficial for sustainable growth. 

The post is a work in progress and is only food for thought (no pun intended). It will be rewritten for clarity at some point in the future to connect the concepts better.  Not all people will agree with all parts of the work and this was never the intention. The broader goal being more to develop a way of viewing and understanding the economic system on different levels and how these levels create a sustainable whole. At present new information and reorganization of concepts is occurring to group information together into a useful format.

San Diego Commercial Fishing Industry

San Diego has a long history of fishing beginning with Native Americans, the early canning industry, and today's fresh fish markets. It has been a cultural theme that connects the cities present to its past as a way of thinking about and obtaining resources. The ocean front, military presence, biotechnology and shipping industry are all part of the same maritime background. The local fishing industry and the activities of local  anglers provides a way to analyze how small scale clustered behaviors and transactions contribute to wider commercial activity that helps define San Diego as a regional hub.

According to a local angler who has been in the industry for decades, fishing is barely viable even though the boat owners have experienced great pressure to reduce costs. Each of them has their favorite fishing locations they have fished for years, and often watch other boats before making decisions. Many of the local anglers are on a first name basis and are aware of the strategies of others. They are in every sense of the word a "community".

There is a natural compare and contrast between the ships even though they are relatively the same. Each has their own strategy and has their ways of finding the schools of fish but regularly check and balance themselves through comparing themselves to other vessels. They adapt, adjust, and compete against one another. 

The ships are considered separate businesses operating with their own profit and loss statements. Each ship is run by an owner and may have a small crew to help with the work. Many times the crew consists of family members who work together to keep the business going. Other times people are hired at relatively low wages to ensure the ship is solvent. Budgets, poundage, and fuel are chronic concerns.

Collectively the ships harvest approximately 2.6 million pounds of fish near the Coast of San Diego County with an aggregate value of $7.1 million (Shubel & Monroe, 2008) making them an important contributor to the region. Between 1910 and 1970 San Diego was the "Tuna capital of the world".  They are still important contributors to the very cultural underpinnings of San Diego's other industries.

 At its height the industry boasted both fisherman and tuna canneries with approximately 17,000 workers had a 65 million dollar economic contribution in the 1950's (Gentile, 1999). For many immigrants fishing offered opportunities of employment that provided an income for them and their families. Bumble Bee Foods and Chicken of the Sea still maintain their headquarters locally. Today, as in the past, many San Diegans still seek to foster this once proud industry.

Engaging in commercial fishing is not an easy life. A study conducted of 51 commercial fishing families from the 1960’s to the 1990’s of the California Bight ecosystem showed that a far majority of fisherman do not make much of a profit (Endter-Wada & Keenan,2005). Nearly half the fishing population bounces in and out of the industry based upon economic necessity. Most spouses work outside of the fishing industry and their families have contributed financially to their operations to keep them running. 

Family operators are not strongly affiliated with international organizations and have expressed a level of concern with inter-boat competition. A small number of operations have attempted to adapt to changing commercial needs by incorporating new technology and fishing patterns but this strategy has not been fully implemented across the fishing cluster. Local fisherman are having a difficult time staying competitive against international trends where costs and restrictions are lower.

The lack of knowledge and financial capacity to improving fishing operations are apparent. Like other small businesses, the operators are trying to maximize their income to reasonably reflect their inputs. Most of their time is spent ensuring their operations are solvent. It is a spinning hamster wheel where additional effort doesn't always result in tangible gains; a number are stuck in the occupation.

This also makes it difficult for them to work together. They may learn and adapt from each other but have difficulty working toward the same goals as each vessel must struggle to keep profits. The end result is a self-perpetuating group that fails to make significant steps forward as a whole. 

That spinning hamster wheel is based in the cost of technology, the lack of fish stock, limited education, international competition, and regulation making the San Diego fishing cluster a good candidate for study. Small adaptations are occurring and influencing other members of the cluster but the lack of financial resources is a result of international competitive position and a limited resource. Demand doesn't seem to be the only fact in success or failure.

The Challenges Facing Local Fisherman:

The San Diego fishing community is an ideal cluster for study as its decline is based in market factors influenced by foreign competition, increase in government regulation that protect local resources, and the push to move to larger economies of scale that have damaged small vessels ability to compete. As pressure mounts small vessels are going dormant. The industry in the U.S. failed to innovate and develop to a point where they could keep up with less restrictive imports despite an improving market for local fresh offerings. 

A study by Endter-Wada and Keenan (2005) discussed the fishing patterns and primary reasons why fishing in San Diego has changed. They cited changes to fish stocks, economic markets, and regulatory issues. Fishing is a valued lifestyle for 65.3% of fishermen respondents and they enjoyed their independence 63.6%. They also discussed how the fishermen are adjusting with 60.6% disliking the regulatory environment that limits their catches. According to the study, local fisherman have the following characteristics:

-Few change ports due to their family histories and outside employment locations. 

-Fishing became a full-time occupation with larger boats and higher economies of scale.

-Many of the fishermen did additional work in fish processing, marine salvage, farming, construction, skilled trades, and maintenance work to augment their income. 

-Some fisherman became specialized with hook and line or harpooning. 

-Part-time fisherman prefer small boats and specialized gear that doesn't cost a lot to maintain.

Research by Kronman (1995), shows that there are approximately 21 fishing organizations that represent local fishermen. These are organized around harbors, gear, species, marketing associations, and other related issues. Most of the associations are not  strong and are ineffective in lobbying for change. The splintered nature of fishing associations have created some difficult in taking collective action to raise awareness and lobby for better fishing policies.

Financial pressure on local fisherman can be great as each penny counts in the maintenance of the operation.  According to the Department of Labor Statistics the medium pay in 2010 was approximately $25,600 per year and required less than a high school education (2010). This equates to around $12.30 per hour. The general national outlook of occupational growth is expected to be -6%, -2000 jobs, between 2010 and 2020. Without an improvement in the fisherman plight it is doubtful that new comers will be abundant thereby creating a situation where additional occupational decline is likely.

The outlook for commercial fishing in San Diego was projected to increase in 2008 but according to the Occupational Profile of the State of California this projection was reduced to 0% from 2010-2020 (California Employment Development Department, 2010). The entire projection for California is an increase of 9.1% or 100 jobs (1100 to 1200) from 2010-2012. A stagnant or even slight growth rate in this industry can be considered positive news as it means local fishing businesses are holding the line against a general market trends.

With mixed success there have been attempts to revive the local fishing industry. In 2011, the Coastal Conservancy agency provided a grant of $450,000 to stabilize and improve the commercial fishing industry through the Commercial Fisheries Revitalization and Coastal Public Access Plan to improve Driscoll’s Wharf and Tuna Harbor (2011). A few state/local politicians and the Board of Port Commissioners in 2011 unanimously agreed to the infrastructure improvements. These included structural upgrading of offloading pier, small-scale ice machine, fish tank, and area for an onsite fish market.  

Better outlets for local fisherman seem to help. Officials and community members have supported a temporary fish market in San Diego and the success of this market has been well received. It is popular enough that it may become a more permanent fixture in the San Diego scene. The solution was brought forward based upon an understand the social and economic factors associated with small fishing vessel success. Local parties found a way to give small fisherman more access to their customers while raising the small fisherman revenue.

The general improvements help to create a centralized place for fishing operations that encourage economic growth in the San Diego downtown districts. However, improvements to the economic viability of local fisherman will require raising the value of their catch and reducing expenses associated with distribution. Capital improvements should be seen as a step in a larger process of systematic improvements carried out by the industry stakeholders themselves. 

Providing direct access to high paying customers creates one of the best avenues to maximize small vessel catches. It also raises the cultural value of the fishing industry as a tourist interest and enhancer to the local economy. It helps strengthen local ships but may not be enough to create a transformation change without creating a larger distribution network to reach markets.

Developing the mechanics that help strengthen underlining economic issues for this cluster is beneficial to alleviate other problems associated with quality of life. According to Keppie, (2005) commercial fisherman can suffer anxiety and secondary impacts of prolonged anxiety. The commercial fishermen that are unable to meet the economic and governmental demands experience intense periods of financial stress making business closures more likely and the impact of mental health costly.

Where financial hardship exists it is also likely that fisherman will cut corners to meet demands thereby increasing both waste and injury. Cutting corners could be in the form of seeking only the highest paying fish while discarding less valuable fish (increase in by-product) or skimping on safety processes which raises the overall medical costs of operations. They are struggling to keep their operations functioning and faced with lost income or skirting regulation the former is likely to win. 

Solutions will need to address the low level of income fisherman receive, their relative isolation from customers, consumer trends toward healthy food, and the health pressures on vessel owners that lead to cutting safety corners. Solutions that can effectively address a few, if not all, will have stronger public support and community buy in than would have been possible without. Solutions should consider the widest possible benefits to the consumer, community and fishing industry. The new fish market is the first step in that process but better access to high  paying markets and better fishery management to grow the population is needed..

Type of Fish in the California Bight:
Local fisherman have a wide range of species they can fish but often seek out those like sea urchins because of their high market value. The type of fish one can expect to find in the area are as follows: Rock crab, Spider crab, Kellet’s whelk, Red sea urchin, Purple sea urchin, Turban snail, Spiny lobster, Black gill rockfish, Black cod, Sand dabs, Bank rockfish, Brown rockfish, Copper rockfish, Sheephead, Cabezon, Halibut, Barracuda, Dorado, Swordfish, Thresher shark, Mako shark, Opah, Bluefin, Albacore, White Seabass, Yellowtail, Sardines, Squid, Anchovy, Mackerel and Kingfish (Revitalization of Commercial…2013.). The local fisherman I talked with indicated that sea urchin divers are doing very well. There is a shortage of people with these skills in the area. The sea urchin is a delicacy for Mediterranean, Italian, and Chilean food.  They are often included in omelets, soups, and sauces.   

The types of fish landed in the area between 1985 and 2008 included 30% swordfish, 24% California spiny lobster, 13% red sea urchin, 6% sharks, 5% rockfish, 4% spot prawn, 3% albacore tuna, 3% rock crab, 2% halibut, and 2% sheephead (Commercial fishing revitalization plan, 2009). Swordfish earns the highest revenue for fisherman. Research conducted by Love, Yoklavich & Schroeder included 401 dives and found 717,526 fishes from 137 species and 47 families (2008). Rockfishes with 50 species were 90.2% of all fishes observed. 

Fisherman and Fishing Vessel Demographics:

Today, commercial fishing in San Diego has been relatively small in comparison to other industries. According to Sea Grant Washington the total land use for commercial fishing is 19 acres or .5% of the total Port of San Diego Land and Water Use (2013). Compared to its history this is a small sliver of its once great successes. As commercial fishing contributes less to the local economic system it is also likely to lose those resources developed in decades past. Saving the industry may rely on improving the plight of the local fishing and associated industries to ensure that current resources are well utilized in a way that is sustainable.

At present, approximately 130 commercial anglers work in San Diego County’s four commercial fishing areas of Driscoll’s, Tuna Harbor, Mission Bay and Oceanside (Lee, 2011). Their total catch poundage declined from the 300 million pounds 1980’s to 1.9 million pounds in 2010. A total of 80 species of fish are presented with regular catches of swordfish, lobster, spot prawns, thresher sharks and sea urchins. Such a focus is based in the ability to draw a sufficient income off of the sea. The fisherman will continue to seek out species with high market value and racing against a declining total catch putting additional pressure on their time.

The local industry is not only made up of small fisherman but also large fleets and fish farm operations. Major fish companies are still interested in the San Diego area but have concerns about regulatory red tape (Lee, 2011).  For example, Umami Sustainable Seafood moved its corporate headquarters to the area of Little Italy and has purchased a large farm in Baja.  They desire to expand operations in Ensenada. The company states they are willing to invest in the local market, improve upon Tuna ranching, and desire to integrate international technology as part of the company's strategy.

Commercial fishing and  fish farms are part of the Blue Economy in San Diego County. This industry includes fish farming, water technology, ship building, bio-medicine, defense, marine recreation and ocean science. Just about anything that makes its revenue in relation to the ocean or Californian Bight is considered part of that economy.  According to the 2012 San Diego Maritime Report the Blue Economy touches 1,400 companies, contributes $14 billion, and supports 46,000 employees (Cox, 2013). With 14 sectors the San Diego Blue Economy is expected to increase 6-20% by 2020 making it a substantial regional contributor.

The California Bight has the opportunity to develop a stronger sustainable fishing industry through using international best practices, monitoring, research, and ecological improvements. This requires the ability to find a pathway to encourage higher levels of development and a greater working system for current fishing vessels and  related industries. Through the use of new technology, fish farms and natural stock development a higher level of economic activity can be found that may improve the economy and save the local industries. As a coastal front the San Diego Bight offers opportunities to experiment with ocean sustainability.

San Diego County Consumer Information:

 The U.S. Census Bureau states that San Diego County has a population of 3,177,063 people and  a 2.6 % population growth rate that is higher than the 2.1% state growth rate for the 38,041,430 people in the State of California. With approximately 76.9% of the people over the age of 18 and earning a household income of approximately $63,857 there is a significant percentage of potential restaurant customers (2.44 million over the age of 18).  

Poverty rates are also lower than the rest of the state; 13% versus 14.4%. The total economic value of accommodations and food sales for San Diego is $9.55 billion of the state’s sales of $80.85 billion. With San Diego holding 8.35% of the state’s population with 11.8% of the accommodations and food sales there is a potential $3,914 per person per year spent on related businesses. 

Competing with Cheaper Imports:

The decline of San Diego’s fisheries mirrors that of the national industry. U.S. imports of fish products in 2012 were around 2,441,516 tons, which equates to around $16.7 billion dollars while exports paled to around 1,425,591 tons at $5.12 billion (NOAA Fisheries, 2012).  Over the past decade the ratio of imports and exports of fish products have taken a dramatic negative turn. In 1996, the U.S. imported 1,437,806 tons or $6.7 billion dollars while exports were 931,720 tons or $2.9 billion (NOAA, 1996).  In 2012, local production was around 58.4% of total imports while in 1996 local production was around 64.8% of imports. 

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations the imports of fish related products in 2009 were 4.58 million tonnes (not tons) versus 1.65 million tonnes of exports (2009). This means that exports are around 36% of imports. The way in which both groups calculate and maintain reliability in their studies is different but gives readers a basic understanding of these concepts. The trend of imports is growing and there is a need for local and sustainable production.

Over 80% of California's fish supply comes predominately from Asian countries (Shubel & Monroe, 2008). The greater Los Angeles area consumes nearly twice the amount of seafood per person than the national average and has a surrounding population of approximately 16.5 million people that make a large market. The population of Los Angeles, San Diego, the country, and world population is a consistent market that will take the full production capacity of San Diego fisherman to satisfy their needs. 

Even though mass fish production is a low-cost strategy San Diego would be better served by specializing in sustainable high-end products for small fishing vessels and moderate pricing for fish farms following sustainable practices. Consumers are open and accepting of San Diego fishing and are willing to pay a higher price for ecological practices that fit within their personal value systems. Environmental options raise the value and encourage greater tourism within the region.

Developing a stronger local industry is helpful in retaining jobs and opportunity within the U.S. As American fishing stocks declined and the industry collapsed it is necessary to study the population of fish and the fisherman to gain a better handle on the situation. Today, studies around these two aspects of a viable commercial industry are being evaluated. As these studies bring forward more information and viable solutions there were be new opportunities to protect the environment and encourage the industry.

Research in the area is ongoing to help determine the problems associated with the local fish population and the potential solutions. A new ship called  Reuben Lasker was commissioned in the area by the NOAA to study marine mammals off the West Coast and tropical Pacific Ocean (NOAA, 2014). Such studies help governmental and private stakeholders understand the underlining cause of fish health and developing stronger eco systems. 

Research and development is vitally important to this industry as issues such as pollution, global warming, and fuel usage become hot topics. New findings help policy makers determine better solutions and make adjustments as necessary to current policies. As the body of knowledge grows it is entirely possible that the industry will find a healthy balance between the environment and sustainability. A method of maximizing profits through a market hungry for environmentally friendly products. 

National and International Fish Demand:

National and international trends in fish consumption are increasing. This places greater demand on natural fisheries as well as creates pressure to develop fish farming to keep up with that consumption. People are spending more for their food and desire healthier choices. Developing a sustainable fishing industry in San Diego would help fulfill some of that demand by focusing on both commerce and ecological improvement in ways that satisfy the needs of hungry consumers.

The United Nations completed a comparison between fish consumption during the years from 2004 to 2009. They found that in 2004 134.3 million tonnes and in 2009 145.1 million tonnes were consumed in the world market (FOA, 2010).  There was an 8% increase in fish related products over five years. The national and international market projection is positive for the long-term future. The system is relatively unstable and cannot be sustained without increasing supply or finding alternative sources.

According to an National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service  the average U.S. annual consumption of fish declined to 15 pounds from 15.8 pounds in 2010 (Seafood Source, 2012).  The rise in spending on domestic fish related products increased 13.8% to $85.9 billion in 2011 from $75.5 billion in 2009. The rise in fish related spending is positive even though the consumption amount has declined.  It is possible that seafood value is rising across a wide swath of the market raising the possibility that local fishing practices can become viable. The U.S. and China lead consumption and are willing buyers.

This demand mixed with a lack of fresh fish supplies and costs has created market alternatives. Recent studies by the American Heart Association have found that fish and fish oil supplements
reduce heart disease and increase memory (Kris-Eterton, et. al. 2014). Consumers have come to accept the benefit of natural fish and fish supplements and are seeking high quality products.

The fish consumer market trend is increasing and additional demand will be realized in the future. A lack of sustainable supply will likely continue to put upward pressure on fish prices and local stock. This can be positive for small fisherman who need to earn enough to sustain their operations but may be more challenging for those who desire to purchase affordable fish. This is one reason why it is important to develop sustainable practices as well as encourage new fish farms to keep up with a growing demand. Developing an American fish industry can be fruitful in encouraging higher economic growth and reducing trade deficits. It may also provide opportunities for sustainable nutrition that can lower the harmful impact of less ecologically sound practices overseas.

Restaurant and Consumer Trends:

U.S. food consumption in 2010 was $1.24 trillion with $594 billion, or 48%, purchased outside the home (AGMRC, 2013). General spending on food is 9.4% of disposable income and has experienced some levels of decline. Out of all fish related expenditures 71.08% were for fresh food, 27.1% for canned seafood and 1.8% for cured fish (About Seafood, 2004). Fresh fish that fits consumer needs and commercial fishing catches appears to be in market alignment.

In 2011, a total of 3.4 billion servings at fish related restaurants in 2011 (Seafood, 2012). Of these purchases the largest percentage were as follows: 23% fish broiled, baked, grilled, raw; 14% fish fried; 21% shrimp broiled, steamed, or grilled; 13% shrimp fried; and, 29% for all other seafood. Farm raised fish is replacing natural fish due to the depletion of a natural supply.

A total of 69% of consumers indicated that they were more interested in visiting restaurants offering locally grown food (NRA, 2011). A total of 71 % of people were trying to eat healthier with 33% searching online for food outlets (NRA, 2010). Other research reports that 76% of adults want healthier food, 70% are more likely to visit restaurants with locally produced food, and 89% research restaurants before frequenting them (Grab Statistics, 2013). 

According to a 2007 report by Responsive Management 82% of Californians would support purchasing local fish while 90% do not see commercial fishing as a threat to the environment (Port of San Diego, 2013). More importantly farmer markets have double over the past decade and increased 17% in 2010 (Kayal, 2011). The support for clean local fishing appears to follow other trends in food service that includes organic, natural and local foods.

Fish Processing and Price Increases:

An input/output model fostered by Dr. James Kirley analyzed the economic impact of fish in 23 marine coastal states.  His study found that for every $100 a grocer spent at a wholesaler they received $133.40 when selling the product. For every $100 of seafood a restaurant purchased they received $282.40 in sales. These profits were used to pay costs, labor, etc… of running the business. The far majority of the seafood profits went to processors and wholesalers/distributors with less than 14% going directly to restaurants, individual customers, exports or grocery stores.

According to research conducted by Wiese & Quagrainie (2006) traditional processors offered less money than what is needed to break even on small fishing operations. They recommend that by developing alternative marketing channels helps small farms spread price risks. Farmers can increase their average price received by having on-site value-added processing and selling to local consumers and retail outlets.

Of course the goal should not be to damage or punish processors and distributors. Larger operations have the ability to negotiate their fish price but smaller commercial fishing vessels do not have the economic muscle. Their small productions are regularly given discount wholesale value. By allowing these small vessels to sell directly to customers, or through an association, they can raise the value of their catch and reduce the pressure on their financial operations. 

At present, most fish are sold to processors and shipped across the country which raises its societal cost and the carbon footprint (Burks, 2013). Allowing small fisherman to focus on the local economy can create greater skill development and community support for the industry. It provides a direct sales outlet which raises the profit margins of fishing vessels while encouraging community interests. The consumer creates direct pressure on fishing operations to service their needs while local fisherman gain greater community support.

Encouraging a method for smaller fishing outlets to process their products to raise their value is important in developing a sustainable lifestyle. Larger operations and fish farms may benefit more by specialization but small farmers need to use their artisan skills to raise their value. Developing alternative methods of processing, distributing, and marketing small batch production can help raise income while not being overall damaging to large processors. They can earn more off of less production by focusing closely on niche markets. 

California Bight Commercial Fishing Sustainability:

The California Bight comprises a total of 78,000 km of pristine fishing habitat that runs from Pt. Conception to the U.S.-Mexican border on the south. It contains islands, banks, canyons, basins with a borderland of around 300 km wide. Environmental groups, local citizens, commercial fisherman, and governmental entities have expressed interest in finding an appropriate solution to developing the fishing industry while maintaining the sustainability of the ecosystem. Significant research has been conducted but as of yet a viable solution has not been found that would solve the multiple interests in the area. 


 In 2008, a number of scientists, experts, regulators, and stakeholders met to discuss the potential opportunities to develop a $1 billion dollar finfish aquaculture using small parts of state waters (1%) and relieving pressures on natural fish stocks while not damaging ecology (Shubel & Monroe, 2008). The group discussed the success of Maine’s salmon, algae, and shellfish farming operations and considered using the same concept of bundled products with cod, halibut, sea urchins, and other species in California.

An idea of the State of California leasing acreage of the seafloor bottom was raised in the 2008 forum. This would require yearly inspections and eventual renewal bids. The concept is appealing as this leasing option could possibly cover the cost of state oversight as well as be used to enhance the natural stocks for local fishermen.  Outer shelf areas could be used for large commercial farms without  immediate influence on shallow California Bight waters.

To spark a level of improvement in the area will require thinking outside of conventional terms. Sustainable development of the fishing industry will require the understanding of sustainable practices, legislation, and the economic activities of the area (Vasil'ev, 2011). As fishing activity becomes possible the legislative practices and the ability to encourage long-term economic activity becomes necessary.  This requires the interest and coalition of varying economic stakeholders that can collaborate on projects.

A study by Pavlovich & Akoorie (2010), found that innovation through multi-sector partnerships not only increased sustainable fishing in New Zealand but also improved upon related industries. They cite that there is additional opportunities to discuss industry and social structure development. Whether this innovation comes through improved fish distribution, farmer market development or new labels that encourage eco-branding the benefits are more far reaching than the individual fishing operations themselves.

Furthermore, developing the local industry first through proximal geographical  retail will allow for both local support and creating a more solid base for international sales. According to Kellery & Yeapler (2013) closer entities within an economic chain reduce the transactional costs of both the products and the cost of information transference. Such reduced costs are great for building economic hubs of associated industries. These industries can then use existing communication technology and logistics to sell to a wider market.

Fish Farms:

In 2011, there are no major commercial fin fishing farms off the west coast in Federal waters (Joyce, 2011). Federal waters can be defined as anything over 3 miles from the coast which includes deep and turbulent oceans. This requires the ability of fishing companies to use special technology and underwater farms to ensure not enduring damage to their equipment. Public-private interests are beginning to work together to create new innovative ways to raise jobs, increase productivity, and limit environmental damage with such programs as the Aquaculture Technology Transfer.

KZO Fish Farms was granted permission by the Army Corps of Engineers to allow the first shell farm approximately 5 miles from the shore (Sustainable Business Forum, 2012). Shell fish farms actually reduce pollutants by removing them from the water. Furthermore, they do not need to be fed like other farm fish (counts for 60% of farm costs). The company will be starting with a 100 acre farm near Huntington Beach, CA and then possibly develop a 1,000 acre farm in the future. 

There are also in-land fishing such as that found in Carlsbad Aquafarm which attempts to create sustainable practices and maintain a separation from native species. The farm grows Japanes Mollusks which are said to grow fast and be well received on the market (Anderson, 2013). It is believed that such oysters clean the water system and can change the environment through reef building to support other fish. The only problem is that they are an invasive species and researchers are unsure of whether or not they are a benefit in the long run.

Sites that are strong candidates for commercial farm fishing are generally deep, clean, nutrient filled, a sandy bottom and temperate (Chappell, 2010).  On the other hand, long-line small scale natural commercial fishing generally exists in the upper 100 meters (330 feet) of water layer and is caught by dragging long lines behind boats (U.N., Unknown). Artisan and micro fishing boats may traverse even shallower waters to catch their stock. Within the first 100 meters common catches are yellowfin tuna, albacore, swordfish and marlins while bigeye tuna are found at lower levels.  Some companies like Hawaii-based Kona Blue have been successful at developing deep-sea fish farms that sit under 200 feet of water and have less environmental impact (Arnold, 2006). 

Even though there are some benefits to having commercial fish farming closer to shore there is potential that wild fish could be contaminated with farm byproducts such as parasites.  It is also possible that wild fish can contaminate farm fish and slim profit margins. Research helps show that by using closed aquaculture systems or moving fish to the deep sea away from wild populations there are ecological benefits for both populations (Frazer, 2009). Fin fish farms would best be kept in federal waters while shell fish can be closer to shore with minimal damage.

According to Holmer (2010) there are a number of offshore deep water fishing farms and this trend is likely to continue growing as ocean water covers 70% of the world surface and land production of food is likely to plateau. Off-coast farming is between 500 meters to 3 kilometers off the shore with 10-50 meters of depth while offshore farming and is over 3 kilometers from the shore. Offshore farming has shown to relieve pressure on local fish populations as well as conflict in coastal areas when managed properly.

A project by The Rose Canyon Fish Farm, supported by the world's wealthiest woman Christy Walton, and working with the San Diego based Hubbs-Seaworld Research Institute, is working on developing a large eco-friendly fishfarm 4 miles outside Ocean Beach (U-T San Diego, 2015).  They find that fishfarming anchored deep in the ocean provides the right protection and clean environment for developing sustainable fish projects. The project will use large plastic cages to protect and keep together fish schools. 

Methods of fish farming include using large nets/cages to contain fish, brood and stock natural environments, and create artificial control. In Japanese experiments of artificial control fish are taught to respond 100-400 MHZ of sound and were awarded with pellet feeding (Fujiyah, N.D.). When released within the open waters the fish still come to the feeder when the sound is made. Few of the fish move onto other places as they have been trained to stay where the food is at. Each concept of potential fishing improvement should explored and analyzed for the California Bight.

Many of the stocks are reared by taking natural fish and using their eggs and sperm to produce larva. These are then used to breed large amounts of fish which can be released back into the sea or to fish farms. It requires a couple of steps to prepare and acclimatize them (Fujiyah, N.D.).  The use of natural fish eggs and sperm help to reduce the byproduct of underdeveloped fish stock that can’t exist in the wild.  These health stocks can grow up to breed on their own.

According to FOA, seed production can come from a variety of sources which include natural fish eggs (FOA, Unknown Date).  Eggs can be natural or genetically modified. However, with the use of natural eggs obtained from caught fish there is less potential damage related to escaped modified fish that may mingle with native populations. The natural stock can be raised and then purchased for further grown by a farm. Escaped fish have little to no damage potential to the environment unless they carry diseases.

The fish hatchery Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute produces over 350,000 white seabass for future fish farms and local population using open cage technology (Cox, 2013). It is believed that by using a single square mile of open sea and open cage methods a total of 150,000 tons of fish worth $900 million ($3.6 billion at the table), 6,000 jobs, and improve the economic viability of the area. Such methods contribute to the need of exploring additional economic and sustainable practices in the area. 

A number of local innovators and scientists believe that by implementing zoned fishing areas it is possible to control and research the economic benefits of fish farming (Bennett, 2013). Using Marine Spacial Planning affords an opportunity to create natural protections and buffers for pollutants as well as maximize the overall economic benefits of fish farms in the area. By using such best practices it is believed that a stronger blue economy that contributes to the economic development of the area can be realized.  

Catch-Shares:


Catch shares uses a system that allocates a certain percentage of the total catch to individual fisherman, communities, or associations and creates stronger social benefits for fisherman (USA Today Magazine, 2007). It helps fisherman to begin thinking about sustainability and how this is associated with other fisherman in the area. The fleet begins to adapt and find ways of coordinating efforts that not only improves their economic standing but also the diversity and supply of local fish.

The National Panel on Community Dimensions of Fisheries recommended ways in which NOAA and U.S. Regional Fishery Councils should manage the social aspects of catch share programs by allocating a percentage of the fish stock to community entities and associations (Expert Panel, 2011). The use of a percentage of quotas being offered to a small fisher association would allow for encouraging membership and sustainable fishing practices.

Catch-shares has helped improve the stock of natural fish. Each ship is allowed a quota of fish they can catch depending on the quality and strength of the fish supply which improves the total amount for everyone.  West coast ground fisheries (sable, rockfish, and thorny heads) went from catches of $38 million to $54 million in 2011 (Dearen, 2013). As a system of fishing, it can be used with any species as total quota for each fish is allowed. The system also reduces unintentional catches by 80%. 

Catch-Shares can reduce the by-product catches and dumping. In 2002, 3.7 million tonnes of fish were landed within the U.S. while 1.06 tonnes were discarded (Harrington, Myers & Rosenberg, 2005). The national rate is .28 with the lowest areas being Alaska and the west coast at .12 and .15 respectively. National by-catch programs have not been developed or implemented throughout the country. Fisherman lessen the sustainability of their environments by not updating their practices to reduce this by-catch. 

An analysis of various fishing technologies throughout Australia helps identify how important it is for fishing vessels to update their equipment in order to reduce by-catch waste (Kennelly, 1999). In places where equipment education and awareness was raised voluntary adaption of new technologies occurred in 50-100% of vessels in various locations. Furthermore, the technology reduced by-catch in the form of unrelated species and small fish from 15% to 50%.  Effectiveness increased 4% in some locations and declined up to 16% in other locations depending on the type of technology used. 

Danish fisherman have dangerously over-exploited North Sea cod. Solutions and government restrictions try and reduce over fishing by reducing the amount of days vessels can be in the seat. Kjaersgaard, et. al. (2009) studied the behavioral patterns of the vessels and found that by allowing vessels to focus on other species instead of cod on certain days helps to create sustainability. 

According to the Scientific American Blog, a number of California Bight fisheries collapsed due to over exploitation,  poor management, and pollution (Lee, 2013). Prior to their collapse a number of scientists have warned about the phenomenon but due to higher catch yields such warnings were generally ignored. When areas were closed some did not come back due to a lack of transplantation in an over damaged system. It is important to tackle problems proactively to save an industry and a historical livelihood.

Catch shares encourages sustainable management by allowing individuals and entities to fish a certain percentage of a natural fishery. The goal is to ensure that less fish are being caught than the ecosystem can produce naturally. Participants are offered a share of the fish which they can keep or sell. The program is used in 35 different countries with small and large fishery programs (Bonzon, et. al., 2010). 

Since fisheries are seen as public domain the catch share program fits within the culture of the industry. As an economic program it was designed in 1954 by a researcher named Scott Gordon as a way to improve fish economies. At present the the fish shares program is used in a number of locations throughout the world.

Over time the program needed tweaking as it often forced some fisherman out of the industry as shares became consolidated into bigger industries. However, the use of owner-on-board regulations, association allocations that can’t be transferred, and pricing requirements help in fighting over consolidation of the industry that leads to the decline of local industries. 

The goal is to help ensure that small fishing vessels, or new comers to the industry, are not automatically priced out by a consolidated industry that has raised the price of the shares beyond what is affordable to the average person. It also helps to ensure that small vessels that lease shares don’t have to give a majority of their profits to absentee fisherman. Supporting local fisherman will need programs designed specifically for them.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental advocacy group, catch share programs increase the amount of fish caught by 19% over 10 years, reduce waste by 66%, increased fleet revenues by 68% over ten years, and maintain a high level of program compliance. They believe it is possible to raise revenue as well as protect the natural populations by implementing fair programs.

 In 2009 Rhode Island implemented a pilot catch share program for flounder in the multi-species complex  using sub-seasonal harvest caps and daily trip limits. And found that the sector and non-sector raised revenues over $1,050,000 (Scheld, et. al. 2012). Raising revenue while protecting local fish populations is beneficial for creating sustainable activity for long-term use. Local fisherman can raise their revenue by engaging in fish shares.

A 2010 consulting report gives an overview, analysis and recommendations for San Diego’s fishing industry. The report indicates that since the 1980’s local ports have declined similar to ports throughout the nation. Much of the fishery work has been moved overseas where expenses and regulations are more lenient. The report further suggests infrastructure improvements to modernize the ports to make them more effective and attractive to new comers.

Research conducted by Parnell et. al. shows that 60% of private recreation and 74% of recreational charter fishing efforts were concentrated in two small areas with commercial fishing activity (2010). The authors indicated that fine-scale patterns of fishing boats damages the diversity of the area. The report indicates that better pattern management may help in improving fishing diversity and productivity. 

Updating Technology for Economic and Ecological Efficiency:

Updating technology reduces fishing by-product which fosters a more efficient catch and greater economic sustainability. As bi-product catches are thrown overboard they are naturally damaging the environment as well as wasting other products that can be sold on the market. Fish populations have a harder time recovering when their energy input is removed from the food chain. Efficient catches, reduced waste, and an outlet to sell bi-catch in small bundles help to reduce waste necessities for economic reasons.

According to Ocean, the world's largest ocean conservation organization, the U.S. fishing industry wastes between 17% and 22% of their catches (Carannante, March 2014). Every year this results in a half billion meal waste every year. The reason such waste occur is because technology has not been updated and most fishing equipment doesn't discriminate between marketable and unmarketable fish catches killing a larger portion than is needed.

Technology requires a person to first be aware of its economic benefits and then a method of purchasing the necessary upgrades. Fisherman may not always be updating their equipment due to the relatively low profits associated with the industry as well as the traditions of the industry.  Brand associations can help in encouraging awareness of available equipment and fostering methods for obtaining the upgrades.

Even if the fisherman are aware of the potential for updating technology they may not have the financial capacity to do so. Upgrades that reduce waste and improve efficiency are costly and small fishing operations already have difficulty making ends meet. A method of either pooling money through an association or a financial lender offering low interest loans will be needed to make these purchases.The possibility of using one's shares as collateral may offer a lower interest rate than would be available otherwise. 

Local and Sustainable Fish Branding:

Branding is a fundamental aspect of marketing and sales. Such branding offers an opportunity for consumers to associate the product with the core values of the brand. A brand of sustainable and natural fish can help encourage the image of both the local fishing industry as well as the tourism industry in San Diego. It also has the potential to raise the value as well as the amount of fish sales creating a stronger industry. With the use of stronger branding techniques association with sustainable and fresh practices pressure on improving local practices in ways that encourage fish stock development can be sought.

Branding can enhance tourism when the personality of the brand becomes associated with the personality of the area (Forristal & Lehto, 2009) For example, Wisconsin and cheese or Alaska and salmon are often associated with each other in branding and the public's perception. Sustainable brands also enhance the long-term marketability of both the product and the area (Alviani & Gabbert, 2011).

San Diego tourists may be drawn to the warm weather and beaches but they are also drawn to the restaurants. The genre and type of restaurants within a tourist area increases the satisfaction of visitors (Sparks, et. al., 2003). Restaurants help to raise public knowledge of the commercial fishing industry and local cultures (Wood, et. al, 2007). The various forms of entertainment and experiences become part of the cultural branding of an area.

The implementation of local branding schemas encourages ownership and participation in developing core values that fit within the local brand (Woodland, 2007). It is these sustainable and local values that can enhance social expectations among fisherman who desire to sell under and profit off of the sustainable brand. Social aspects of sustainable fishing practices helps reduce the overall environmental cost of fishing in the area. 
Eco labels can raise the price of both green products and non-green through environmental awareness (Chen, 2009). The study found that raising environmental awareness also raised the value of green products and non-green products alike. It further pressured green producers to upgrade green technology. Environmental awareness raised the price, sales volume, and profits of both green and non-green products.  Both green and non-green producers can find benefits in raising consumer awareness of environmental issues and translating this into higher levels of corporate responsibility.

Labeling and distribution is not a one-way street. Based upon customer preferences, retailers often influence what type of seafood is processed and the very fishing patterns vessels adopt (Roheim, et. al., 2007). By bringing retailers into the brand criteria it creates higher levels of influence on the sustainable practices and patterns commercial fisherman adopt. As fisherman seek profits, they would be wise to consider the sustainable branding requirements of retail outlets and restaurants. The economic, social, and brand requirements create pressure to encourage greater rewards from sustainable practices.  Customers may come to acknowledge such brands and pay a premium for them.

Eco-labeling isn’t only about making sales it is also about raising awareness of fisheries and fisherman that have adopted these best practices. Eco-labeling highlights fisheries with the least amount of environmental impact (Gutiarrez, et. al. 2012). A study of certified versus un-certified fish stocks of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) found that 75% of certified fish stocks were above biomass levels when compared to un-certified fisheries. Certified stocks increased 46% over 10 years when compared to 9% of un-certified stocks. A level of oversight appears to help in understanding the fish population and provides greater mechanisms for improving the fish stock.

A year-long study by researchers at University of San Diego and Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers has recently started in an attempt to determine the local demand of seaside markets (Burks, 2013). According to Theresa Sinicrope Talley, a Scripps researcher, "It seems better to have a lot more of the local seafood stay in San Diego for all sorts of reasons," and "The less distance your food travels, the lower the carbon footprint. And the more we rely on our local ecosystems for food, the higher priority they'll become. The general public will have a raised awareness of our kelp forests and our marshes and our estuaries.(Burks, 2013)" Such food increases local health of both natives and immigrants. There may be an issue with having county government issue permits for standing fish markets.

Developing support for local sustainable practices requires a level of market pressure. When restaurants and retailers offer sustainable products and label them as such it provides support for local fisherman. Some environmentalists propose changes in food buying habits, ban on rare species, and food menus that label products sustainable help in creating stronger a market draw and pressure on fisherman sustainable practices (Jennings, 2006). The use of menu labeling to encourage brand purchases also encourages customers to make choices that foster and improve the economic strength of small fisherman. Using such menus also help raise awareness of sustainable alternatives to standard offerings.

It is difficult for small fisherman to make a living income off the products they catch. By engaging in eco-branding or a sustainability association they can not only raise the awareness of their industry but  also the value of their catches. Environmental awareness is becoming more prevalent among the general population and a segment of consumers are willing to pay a higher price for products that encourage environmental improvement and development. Through such branding it is possible to improve the practices of local fisherman who desire to be part of the branding effort. Brands often make their way onto restaurant menus, retailers, and even fish market offerings. In addition, branding also affords an opportunity to raise tourism awareness of both San Diego but the California Bight.

Fish and Farmer Markets:

https://lh3.ggpht.com/-HmBxFsUgDGs/UfiI2WacJPI/AAAAAAAABTk/afRUjN0CrJs/s640/Sustainable+Market+Cycle.jpghttps://lh3.ggpht.com/-fn8-pIZ-mYY/UhA7POeojiI/AAAAAAAABWg/LtZEYs3URlg/s320/fish+product.jpgSan Diego has a number of different markets you can learn about HERE. Recently the Board of Supervisors, County of San Diego, and Port of San Diego announced the August 2nd, 2014 launch of the open-air fish market near Seaport Village. Supervisor Greg Cox Stated There’s no reason why we can’t have a thriving commercial fishing industry here again in San Diego.” The goal is to provide a healthy living alternative, revitalize the fishing market, and encourage greater attraction to the San Diego downtown. Through offering its own distribution network smaller fishing vessels are more capable of balancing their budgets and thriving while the local community thrives under greater interest and activity.

In 2008 a survey of 953 Michigan residents about their interest and perceptions of local farm markets (Conner, et. al. 2008). They found 61% of residents have visited a farmers market around four times in the last month. The biggest issues were quality of food, safety from diseases and the ability to support local farmers. The least important factors were pesticide free, hormone free, and one stop shopping. The majority of respondents stated they would buy more products if it was easier to identify or more available in places they shop. 

Using fish markets with online capabilities can also help in developing sales revenues. A Japanese company called Sanriku Toretate Ichiba, launched in 2010, posts details of catches in real time (Gilhooly, 2012). Customers then purchase these catches which creates a greater match between supply and demand. Fish markets could post a percentage of their catches online to encourage additional local business. Once bought customers can have a certain amount of time to pick up their purchase thereby drawing them into the market to purchase other products. 

Research using data scanners of Alaska Pollock products in London found a 14.2% customer premium for sustainable seafood with a Marine Stewardship Council Certification (Roheim, et. al, 2011). This indicates that a certification program can raise the perceived value of frozen seafood. By logic, we can also conclude that this premium exists for non-frozen sustainable products that have been certified as fresh and sustainable.

https://lh3.ggpht.com/-hETvvf-3ghs/UhA65pqy5QI/AAAAAAAABWY/4bzMtyVqbbQ/s320/sea+urchin.jpgA study of customer in San Luis Obispo County, California,  who  frequented farmer market shoppers and non-farmer market shoppers found that those who did use farmer markets were generally female, married, highly educated (Wolf, et. al, 2005). They enjoyed cooking with their families and perceived the food as better value, higher quality, local, better for the environment, and traceable to the producer. They did argue that a lack of convenience did deter them from visiting farmer’s markets.

Analysis of farmer-to-consumer direct-market shoppers indicates that those with education are most likely to shop at farmer markets (Onianwa, 2005). Income was not a sole determinant in the study but people with families were more likely to shop as their income increases.  The study didn’t determine this concept but education may simply be a greater awareness of environmental issues. Healthy brand awareness may supplement.

A study of Hispanic farmer market consumers in Los Angeles who earned an income of $22,000 or less, and who have experienced some food insecurity in their lives, went to the farmer market at least twice per month (Ruelas, et. al, 2012). They lived within 4 miles of the market, reported high satisfaction, and desired to see additional products at such markets. They also found that the type of food purchased also had tertiary effects on physical exercise and better eating habits. 

A similar program called the Farmers Market Fresh Fund Incentive Program using food stamps was implemented in San Diego in an effort to help lower income eat healthier fruit and vegetables (Dotinga, 2013). Even though the results of the increased healthy food access due to lower prices at farmer markets, allowing farmer markets to take food stamps or vouchers, and raising awareness of such markets, are generally not conclusive most have stated the program was a success. With the average farmer represented at the markets earning $47,000 a year it supports local families, increases health consciousness, and improves upon the food supply.

Simple Customer Profile:

-Female
-Married
-Family oriented
-Interest in cooking
-Concerned about quality
-Environmentally aware
-Educated
-Seeks convenience
-Value conscious
-Health conscious
-Willing to pay a premium
-Support for local farmers

Quick PESTLE Analysis:

The PESTLE analysis is used to determine those factors which are not directly in control of an organization. In this case it can view the macro-economic and micro-economic environment to determine feasibility. A traditional PESTLE would be much more in depth but for the purposes of a brief analysis you may consider the following. 

Political: The desire to develop the region and encourage sustainable fishing practices are high but are somewhat limited by disjointed effort, policy misalignment, and environmental friction. Encouraging forums to discussed possible solutions and creating blue economy friendly legislation  helps to encourage the industry. 

Economic: There is high potential growth in the industry as prices and demand is rising. Demand for sustainable and green practices are continuing to grow in market. Price points should be high enough to encourage small fishing operations. Larger operations would need additional increases in local fish supply through proper environmental practices.

Social: High social support for local fishing from a cultural, restaurant, tourism, and activity arena. San Diegans are engaged actively in community environment and health related activities. Fishing practices and proper marketing can help further local needs. 

Technology: Additional improvements in developing technology incubation to work with the fishing industry and other blue economic fields such as ship building are necessary. The area is known as a technology hub for the region and can incorporate new development of blue economy technology well. 

Legal: The legal environment is challenging due to the multiple stakeholders in the area. Federal, State, County, City, labor and environmental interests appear to have disjointed efforts. A California Bight Committee may encourage these varying interests to work together with a singular and more effective focus. 

Environmental: There is a high level of environmental concern over the California Bight. Further environmental enhancement practices can help encourage higher growth of native fishes and the industry in general. Year round weather, agricultural, outdoor, tourism and fishing industry abundance should be an enhancement.  

Sustainable Fishing Summary 

Each local cluster exists within a regional hub and this is connected to national and international sources of revenue and information. In Australia clusters formed from networks of regionally based firms within the wine, fishing, film, education, and tourism industries that collaborate and innovate collectively and individually through alliance, commissions, federations, and associations (Roberts and Enright, 2004). The development of local fishing doesn't exist only in the fishing arena but also in farming, government legislation, proper government oversight, and other supporting industries. How these industries work and collaborate together has a huge impact on varying sectors of society. 

The San Diego fishing cluster helps highlight how local interaction and adaptation of technology can improve upon the viability of businesses within the area. In this case a lack of mutual self-development and resources has caused decline and stagnation in the local industry. Failure to innovate, encourage entrepreneurship, and ensure local legislative engagement appears to have limited the fisherman's options who are finding their operations fall behind a little more each year. 

It is not enough to be in the locality of each other it is also necessary for the fishing cluster to be open to new ideas outside of tradition, share those ideas, and come to a better method managing fishing within the area. Without dramatic change and adjustments in the fishing industry it is likely to continue to lose interest and position against foreign competition.  
Catch-Shares Sustainability :

The California Bight currently has limits on its ability to regenerate its fish populations. The use of catch-shares has worked to regain fish momentum in many places. Its failure rate is less. These failures are often associated with an improper mix of restrictions with the actual environment. Generally, the catch-shares program is known to improve the population by not allowing over-exploitation. It also has fostered higher yield returns that help improve the amount of fish caught.

Fin Fish Farms:

Additional research and development in Fish Farms helps to improve proper fish zoning increasing the economic worth of San Diego's Blue economy. Encouraging fish farms of products that remove pollution from the local eco system can have a double benefit. The San Diego area is ripe for investment, testing, and exploration.

Job Skills and Associations:

Small fishing families have multiple skills that move beyond their boat. Training them to manage their operations more efficiently and developing their complementary skills raises their financial earning power. Connecting them with businesses that need these skills maintains maximum employment. 

 Publication and Online Source:

A publication related to fishing, fishing industry, and related subjects helps raise the status and connect-ability of businesses in a cluster 
(Rutherford, 2012). With improving trends of interest in green management, natural fish, and blue economy information a publication will improve sales and perceptual knowledge in the general public.

Processing and Distribution Efficiency:

One way to improve the overall value of products is to reduce costs. According to Ohdar & Ray (2012) the use of integrative distribution systems can increase efficiencies. As fish are a price sensitive product it is necessary to include dockside purchases, coordination among distributors, and coordination among related industries. Developing an economic hub where transaction costs are lowered helps encourage more effective cost structures. 

University and Educational System:

https://lh3.ggpht.com/-lZDt4sNEZVw/Uh16G65yhuI/AAAAAAAABY4/EJho-9HjXSc/s320/Innovation+Driven+Model.jpg
 Knowledge and informaton coming from both the fishing community, universities, and related industry stakeholders positions San Diego as a leading blue economy leader. Learning styles within organizations can further enhance their development, competitiveness, and profitability while enhancing local skills (Michie & Zumitzavan, 2012). Connecting local firms, regional assets, and global assets with an innovation broker (university and business investors) furthers development of the blue economy.

Farmer and Fish Markets:

Farmer and fish markets are a growing trend. People are drawn to these markets because of value, the health benefits, and the overall support of local and sustainable practices. Such markets generally draw people into the local industry and allow customers to develop a personal relationship with local producers. Fisherman and families can come to know each other and become more aware of local issues and needs. Through an association fisherman who work within the market a few days a week will have an opportunity to directly connect to customers’ needs and understand the business process better.

Such markets need not be fish only as other farmers would be interested. It can  include sustainable farmers from the area that can make the shopping experience more convenient for families that desire to buy multiple items from one place. It will also allow sustainable developers to connect with one another to share experiences and further sustain the social benefits and expectations of following sustainable practices.

Farmer markets can also enhance tourism and draw people down into the downtown area. Research has shown that by drawing people into a particular locality there will be a spillover effect on other businesses within the area. The fish and farmer markets are a way to draw people back into the urban centers and provide a thriving community. The creation of a strong marketing campaign brings awareness and interest in the industry.

Farmer markets also raise the amount of money local fisherman and farmers can earn by cutting out the large distribution process. Small batch production becomes available and customers respond by paying a higher price for the natural and local food. Distributors often pay by the weight and volume which make it extremely difficult for small producers to compete.

Farmer market stalls can be offered at a discount rate which provides an additional revenue source as well as an opportunity for these farmers to earn a profit. Customers will enjoy the opportunity to shop for fish as well as other products at the same time. Local farmers are drawn more closely into the economics of the area as well as have additional support for their sustainable practices.

California Bight Committee:

The development of the California Bight could be fostered by local, philanthropic, state, and federal entities. Bringing multiple stakeholders together and coordinating knowledge/research helps in understanding the California Bight as a whole entity with a larger economic impact. Knowing when and where to reduce pollution, best places to provide permits, and coordinating the experimentation process ensures maximum benefit for interested parties while still protecting natural resources.

Such a committee would need to have a representative body that ensures multiple interests are represented in decision making. Representatives may include governmental, commercial fishing, scientists, and pollution specialists. Through a well represented body the committee can better get a grasp on the needs and opportunities of the area. This opportunity extends into the realm of commercial/economic opportunities and sustainability/pollution management. Consider the following as possibilities: 

1.) Commercial & Economic: Commercial Fisherman/Association, Government , Fish Farms, Researchers (Economic & Aquatic Researcher). 

2.) Sustainability/Pollution: Governmental, Researchers (Aquatic & Pollution) and Environmentalists.

The primary goals should be to 1.) encourage economic activity and 2.) develop sustainability through improving the health of the system. The ecological health and its economic improvement cannot be separated as one creates sustainability for the other. Using such groups allows for a voice of opinion, raises the status of participating members, and can encourage social norm development (Godard & Frenge, 2013).

Coordinating the California Bight as a research and development hub has far reaching implications.  For example, Pacific Ocean fish were found with Mercury from China off of Hawaiian waters (HealthDay, 2013). Committees of a larger fishing entity not only raise scientific knowledge but also creates pressure on stakeholders to change.

An example of local water management may be found in the Great Lakes region with collaborative efforts of the International Joint Commission (Matheny, 2013). The commission seeks to find collaborative goals among Great Lakes stakeholders and make recommendations to interested governments. You may read more about the IJC here. A similar but uniquely home grown committee can be formed in San Diego to encourage better ecological and economic management.


A committee will be the central dissemination of information about changes in San Diego's fishing industry.  In a New Mexico case study business that developed around information provided by non-profits became more sustainable (Fisher, 2008). San Diego Blue Economy stakeholders need a way of coordinating their efforts and developing meaning contributions to the ecological system. 



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