Commercial fishing vessel in San Diego during routine Coast Guard inspection. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration issued permits to two San Diego fishermen to test an expansion of the domestic seafood industry, a state fishery organization announced Friday.

According to the California Pelagic Fisheries Association, the permit allows David Haworth and John Gibbs to test longline fishing equipment 50 miles or more off the coasts of California and Oregon. Both fishermen, who operate separate ships, will also be joined by a fishing observer approved by the federal government.

The U.S. imports roughly 90 percent of its seafood from countries, including China, Canada, Ecuador, Vietnam and Thailand. A more robust domestic seafood harvesting industry would improve the country’s seafood security and allow for sustainable regulation of the industry, which is often not the case in foreign fisheries, the CPFA said.

“NOAA’s decision is a huge win for American fisheries, fishermen and ultimately, the environment,” CPFA President Dave Rudie said. “It will greatly benefit San Diego and southern California and our consumers as well.”

The permits will expire at the end of April 2021.

– City News Service