Thanks in part to the Slow Food community's support, Speaker Atkins’ fishermen’s market bill, AB 226, has advanced to the Senate. The bill must now repeat the committee process, and has been assigned to start in the Senate Committee on Health. Because the bill is now in its second house, we ask that you continue your support by submitting a new letter, this one addressed to the Senate Committee on Health. An updated sample letter is below with the new address.
The bill is not yet officially scheduled for a hearing, but there is a chance that it could be brought forward in the coming weeks, so to ensure that your support is captured in the official record we are asking that letters be submitted this week if at all possible.
Send your letters to the CA State Senator Ed Hernandez or San Diego County, Thomas Ledford: Thomas.Ledford @ sdcounty dot ca dot gov by June 10, 2015.
AB 226 Sample Support Letter (to CA Senate's Health Committee)
From a previous post:
Slow Food Urban San Diego is excited about the new proposed legislation that will help California fishers get their products to Californians. State Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) has introduced legislation, "Pacific to Plate," to clarify and streamline state laws to make it easier for San Diego's Tuna Harbor Dockside Market, and other fishermen's markets like it, to grow and thrive. See how you can support California's fishermen's markets and the Pacific-to-Plate bill below.
Three barriers in the current California laws and regulations affect fishermen's markets in California:
- Current laws and regulations in California do not define fishermen's markets so prevent them from easily obtaining permits to operation.
- Current laws and regulations do not allow fishermen to clean fish for direct sale to consumers.
- Current laws allows direct fresh-caught fish sales to occur only from permanent, temporary, or mobile food facilities where permits are required for each participating fisherman or aquaculturist.
The proposed legislation:
- Designates Fishermen's Markets as “food facilities” in the California Retail Food Code.
- Exempts evisceration of whole raw fresh-caught fish at a Fishermen’s Market from the definition of food preparation to allow fresh-caught fish to be cleaned by the fishermen for direct sales to the public.
- Establishes a separate Fishermen's Market chapter in state law, specifying the operational requirements (modeled after requirements for Certified Farmers' Markets) to allow commercial fishermen and aquaculturists to organize under a single permit holder for the market.
- Clarifies that food facilities that sell certain products such as whole fresh-caught fish can have an open front.
If you'd like to support this legislation, please send a letter of support (like the sample letter below) to Speaker Atkins. Send letters to CA Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins. Some reasons to support Pacific to Plate AB 226:
- Fishermen’s markets allow fishermen to sell local seafood direct to consumers - providing fresh seafood with a lower carbon footprint.
- The Pacific-to-Plate legislation streamlines the permitting process, so that fishermen can sell direct to the public.
- Fishermen's markets provide a place for fishermen to collaborate and plan what they'll fish - leading to more sustainable fishing practices, like fishing lightly across a wider variety of fish.
- More fishermen's markets means more fresh fish available at better prices to the consumer.
- Fishermen's markets, like farmers markets, connect the community to their food producers and the food producers to their community.