To achieve fairness and ensure that the public facilities at Johnson Pier in Pillar Point Harbor are properly maintained, the San Mateo County Port District is considering a new license and fee program for those who sell seafood to the public .
The Port District met on June 10 to discuss options for the Fee Program, with a possible tiered fee system proposed for fishermen who sell off-boat, allowing the Port District to maintain public jetty spaces. and create a more equitable fee system for businesses, restaurants and fishermen. .
“It’s a small piece of the cake, but a lot of the small portions add up quickly,” said Harbor District General Manager Jim Pruett.
20 years ago dockside sales were minimal, but today around 50 boats are selling on Johnson Pier, bringing plenty of people on weekends to Pillar Point Harbor, Pruett said.
Additional customers are a burden on facilities, causing increased wear and tear on parking lots, bathrooms and docks. Public facilities then require additional workers to manage. Given the contribution to public pedestrian traffic, the Harbor District wants fishermen to pay a fee for the use of the docks to ensure fairness between them and other wharf companies who pay a fee for maintenance. public. Permits would remain similar, with fees being the most significant change. Pruett said no fee range has been set and is still under review.
The current system has a limited business permit that would move to a more comprehensive process. Pruett said the Harbor District is always looking for the details and the best and easiest method. A potential tiered system would have different fee ranges for someone who sells crab versus someone who sells crab and salmon or someone who sells halibut. He believes that a tiered system will benefit both small and large fishermen to ensure that they do not pay the same price for different services.
“I think the tiered system is something we should be looking at,” Pruett said.
Pruett noted that restaurants currently pay 3% to 5% on gross sales, but Anglers were against gross sales, wanting an up-front progressive system fee.
“I really want to get buy-in from the fishermen before I go to the board. The main goal is not to exceed the price of Pillar Point Harbor for fishermen, ”said Pruett.
Harbor District staff will put together potential role models for the board based on the ideas from the meeting. The board will likely have something to approve in three or four months, with public input possible before a final decision, Pruett said. Implementation would start in early 2022. Fishermen will be given a physical license to make it easier for enforcement authorities to know who should be there and who should not.
Virginia Chang Kiraly, chair of the port district commissioners council, said the fees would help recoup the costs needed to maintain public space. The work dock swells with activity on weekends due to trucks, the public and people selling the daily catch. She stressed that the fees were not for income or funding for other projects, but for the management of public spaces at the pier. Chang Kiraly believed that the proposed and discussed tiered system could be a solution to the fee options.
“I think the proposed tiered structure was a good idea,” she said.
Chang Kiraly believes that public dialogue was necessary to ensure the success of the charges, and she thanked the audience for caring enough to come forward.
“I think this type of collaboration and dialogue is important, especially as we come out of COVID and work towards economic recovery,” Chang Kiraly said.
Commissioner Bill Zemke was struck by the complexity and detail required to make the program a success.
“Whatever we do, I want to make sure we’re doing it in the most efficient way possible,” Zemke said.
Frank Sousa, a fisherman from Half Moon Bay, said there was a need to prioritize local fishermen who sell annually at the dock and rely on local customers to account for fees.
“To continue to be successful, it has to be adapted to the fishermen of Half Moon Bay,” Sousa said.