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Jul 272017
 

International Terminal lined with fishing vessels for maintenance and gear change…
Fishermen’s Wives photo

Submitted by: Heather Munro Mann on behalf of the commercial fishing industry including: Seafood Processors, 18 support businesses

Port of Newport’s Commercial Fishing Industry Platform Regarding International Terminal Access

The Port of Newport is home to a diversified commercial fishing industry. Well over 100 commercial fishing vessels are home-ported in Newport and many more transient vessels visit and utilize the Port’s facilities. Newport-based vessels participate in many fisheries and Newport is also home to many of Oregon’s Distant Water Fleet.

Many Lincoln County citizens are directly employed as vessel crew or in seafood processing plants. Hundreds more are employed by the dozens of support businesses that service the commercial fishing industry. Newport’s successful tourism economy is also based, in part, on the existence of an authentic working waterfront. In 2015 over 67.8 million pounds of seafood worth over $33.4 million in ex-vessel revenue was landed in Newport. These numbers are conservative and do not include the revenue from landings by Newport vessels in other west coast ports or the distant water fisheries. Over the last decade commercial fisheries have been steadily increasing and the opportunities for fishing continue to expand. Newport generally ranks in the top 20 national fishing ports annually based on landings and value.

The International Terminal (IT) is a critical component to Newport’s commercial fishing success. The IT can accommodate large fishing vessels that do not fit at other port facilities. It is not unusual to see 12-15 large trawl vessels moored at the IT between November 1 and January 10th or between April 1 and May 15th. Crab and shrimp boats and trawlers also use the IT heavily to stage and switch gear throughout the year. In addition to the local boats, Bering Sea crabbers and other large transient vessels stage at the IT before moving up-river for boat work at one of the two Toledo shipyards. In addition to significant fishing gear storage, the IT houses important support businesses including a net shop and fishmeal plant.

The revenue that the Port generates from the commercial fishing industry at the IT has grown significantly over the last four years. In fiscal year 2016-17 the Port received over $467,000 for services and moorage at the IT from 52 unique vessels. The revenue generated at the IT has grown by about 50% from $229,939 in 2013-14. The trend is for even greater commercial fishery revenue increases to the IT in future years.

With the importance of the commercial fishing industry to the Port of Newport in mind, and specifically the importance of the IT to the commercial fleet and dependent economy of Lincoln County, all future use plans for the IT, whether for shipping or any other activity, must consider and accommodate the minimum needs of the fishing fleet. If necessary, plans for the construction of new docks to allow for any new activity should be included while plans should preserve the access for the existing industry.

At a minimum, there should be:

* Space for 12 large catcher vessels to moor (no more than 2 deep) at the IT from November 1st through January 10th and April 1 through May 15th at the same time there is direct dock access always for at least two vessels to be actively loading and unloading.
* At all other times of the year there should be room available to moor at least six catcher vessels (no more than 2 deep) while there is direct dock access always for at least one vessel to be actively loading and unloading.
* Twelve months out of the year there should be access to a gear hoist for use by local crab, shrimp and trawl vessels to load and unload gear, as well as a clear path between the storage area and the dock
* Twelve months out of the year there should be ample space to lay down and work on trawl nets
* Twelve months out of the year there should be a clear route for trucks to access the fishmeal plant

Any consideration given to the development of shipping or other activities from the IT should recognize both current and future use needs of the commercial fishing industry who have been the primary users of the facility for the last thirty years. Also, the financial impacts to the industry and community must be analyzed.

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In response to Newport’s fishing fleet lays it on the line…by Heather Munro Mann

Peter Bregman wrote:
 
I purchased 200 acres near Waldport in 2004. Upon retiring from my former profession of finance and investment and needing to learn more about growing timber, I joined the Lincoln County Small Woodland Association (OSWA) and then was elected Chairman in 2013.

In 2013, our association began working with the Port of Newport and Teevin Brothers to help re-establish a Log Export International Terminal. The Port, the timber growers and Teevin Brothers invested a lot of time and expense, winning a US Dept Transportation $2 million grant to make that a reality.
 
Not having such a facility in place has cost the local timber growers needed revenue, losing opportunities for a more competitive market and incurring substantial transportation costs to haul logs much further up or down the road. This was and continues to be lost revenue to them and to the Port in meeting their financial obligations as well as lost employment opportunities for the residents of Lincoln County. It’s been an uphill battle, and even though the Port had accommodated a log export terminal in the past, local neighbors objected to the newly rejuvenated International Terminal, and now the Midwater Trawlers Cooperative demands primary use of the facility year round.
 
The Port Board of Commissioners went through the expense of having the Beckett Group review all of the plans, and after having the opportunity to review that report, I fully concur with the groups’ analysis. Having been in the investment market for 40 years, I know and I am sure you know that to prosper, we must diversify our investments with income coming from different sources. Multiple terminal operations will add to the diversity of our community investments. Because the Commissioners are elected to see that these operations are successful, diversity should be a key objective.

The timber market, a sustainable one, is the oldest; plans for improving the port are in place, the companies involved are reputable; and the loan package available is very favorable, but the loan has an expiration date at the end of September. Neither we nor the Port Commission want to miss that deadline. The International Terminal’s success depends on their leadership. To make it work, they must bring all the various groups needing to use the terminal together.

My advice to the Newport Port Board of Commissioners is to unite, focus on your goals, work out the details, and follow the course of your plan. Success will come from positive action, not inaction.

We should be glad that this decision can be made on a local level, rather than in Salem or Washington.

Thank you for the opportunity for allowing me to bring the OSWA view of the situation to your attention.

Peter Bregman

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Judy & Jerry Pelletier wrote:

We support using Newport’s International Terminal for log and agricultural exports and near-shore barging of waste-paper and/or other materials as originally projected and financed (US Dept Transportation $2 million grant).

As small woodlands owners in Lincoln County, with a nice stand of mature hemlock, a species specific to the export market, we have waited patiently for many years, as have many woodlands owners, hoping that our capital investment could be realized.

We feel that the Port of Newport, the Terminal, Lincoln Co. and State of Oregon will benefit greatly from the harvest of our hemlock from Harvest Tax, State Income Tax, Port Terminal operations, etc. (Longshoreman Yale Fogarty stated in the minutes of 6/09/2017 Commission meeting that the facilities were built for shipping with money from shipping and that the Port is losing money and needs shipping income.)

Considering that the impetus and the grant money for the Port improvements came as a result of timber and agricultural export potential, we feel that decisions should be made to facilitate the return of shipping and export revenue to our Port. Therefore, shipping should take precedent over the unicentric demands of the Midwater Trawlers Cooperative with the hope that we all may find a pathway for cooperation that will enhance each others’ fortunes.

Judy & Jerry Pelletier


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