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Fishermen Oppose One Of Two Wave Park Plans Off Morro Bay

August 29,2014
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Estero Bay off the bluffs and Estero Point

The Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Organization (MBCFO) has  penned a letter opposing one of two plans by power plant owner Dynegy to site wave parks off the Morro Bay waters. The applications have been made to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission(FERC).

The plan by Dynegy calls for two separate wave parks with energy producing buoys offshore tied back to Dyngey’s substation on shore by underwater cable. The fishing group led by president Tom Hafer does not oppose the project proposed for sandy bottom Estero Bay but has a big problem with the proposal off Estero Point,a site that measures 4 miles by 1.5 miles and “is in the rocky reef area where there is heavy local fishing.” Estero Point is a favored fishing area, they say.

Hafer says he was surprised to see the Estero Point proposal to FERC since the concept had been floated earlier this year and “we specifically told them it wouldn’t work.”

The matter is coming to a head as the city is being asked to weigh in on the plans.The Morro Bay Harbor Commission will hear a staff report at their September 4 meeting and could make a recommendation to the city council.

The letter to FERC from fisherman Tom Hafer says “the Central Coast has already lost several  miles of fishing area to Marine Protected Areas,Rock Cod Conservation Areas, Essential Fishery Habitat and a nuclear power plant.”

“We need to protect what fishing areas we have left especially Estero Point which is one of the few area left close to port.”

The Harbor Commission staff report suggests “the City does share these concerns.” In addition they add concerns over the safety of buoys (wave energy converters) that may pose a hazard of both vessels and whales and want to know what mitigation measures might be taken.

The FERC application points out that the projects would start small with just one 1MW buoy for testing purposes.But eventually it could grow the number of buoys to 650 MW of power generated, the amount of power that they were permitted to send from their now mothballed Morro Bay Power plant.

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