Has the idea of creating an artificial reef just off Humboldt Bay to enhance sport fishing finally come of age?
It may be too early to tell, but harbor commissioners on Thursday night decided to apply for a state lease after a group of anglers put up half the application fee and announced they are ready to help make the reef happen. The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District staff will prepare a tideland lease application to the State Lands Commission for a one-square-mile area one mile northwest of the harbor entrance.
The Humboldt Offshore Reef Project would entail, as currently conceived, sinking a number of “reef balls,” cement and metal manufactured structures that would create habitat for rockfish over time.
”We think we can manufacture them ourselves and place them ourselves,” said Humboldt Area Saltwater Anglers representative Casey Allen.
It’s possible that a ship — through a program called California Ships to Reefs — could be sunk in the area at a later date. Allen suggested that a partnership be developed in which the Harbor District handle paper work like permitting and environmental review, while HASA raises funds and does the physical work.
Allen presented the district with a $1,500 check to cover half of the initial application fee.
Harbor District Executive Officer David Hull said that the idea had its genesis in the 1980s, as salmon fishing became constrained. The California Department of Fish and Game chose a site for an artificial reef and dove the area, Hull said, but disagreement among charter fishermen at the time held up progress.
Hull said that the district — which has long supported the concept — would likely seek outside funding for its share of the work.
Am following up on today’s story in the T-S about the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District (link and excerpt below). Clearly the surf community should be part of this conversation.