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Local Fishermen's Contingency Fund

Among other things, 1978 amendments to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act established the Federal Fishermen's Contingency Fund. This fund reimburses commercial fishermen for lost or damaged fishing gear attributable to oil and gas development in offshore Federal waters. However, fishermen may wait as long as seven months to receive payments on approved claims, which can result in costly down-time for fishermen without sufficient capital to repair or replace gear on their own. Additionally, the Federal fund does not cover loss or damage to gear that occurs in State waters, unless such loss or damage was caused by an oil and gas project in Federal waters.

Santa Barbara County's Local Fishermen's Contingency Fund, established in 1988, compliments the Federal Fishermen's Contingency Fund in the following ways:

1. The Local Fund serves as a loan program to facilitate funding of timely repair or replacement of damaged or lost fishing gear while claims to the Federal Fund are being processed.

2. The Local Fund reimburses commercial fishermen the costs of repairing or replacing damaged or lost fishing gear that occur in State waters due to either State or Federal oil and gas development and related activities.

Revenue to support the Local Fishermen's Contingency Fund comes from four offshore oil and gas projects: the former Gaviota Marine Terminal and the Point Pedernales, Point Arguello, and Santa Ynez Unit oil and gas production projects.

Only commercial fishers who operate in the Santa Barbara Channel or Santa Maria Basin and have lost or damaged fishing gear as a result of oil and gas development may submit a claim for reimbursement. Claimants must prove that they are active commercial fishers and have made all reasonable efforts to collect compensation from oil operators responsible for lost or damaged gear. Lost or damaged gear covered by insurance is not eligible for reimbursement from the Local Fishermen's Contingency Fund; nor is lost or damaged gear due to negligence or fault of the commercial fisher.

For further information, please consult the following links or contact Mr. Craig Fusaro or Ms. Kathy Pfeifer (, (805) 568-2507.

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