Port Orford Ocean Resource Team
I was inspired to work with POORT over ten years ago because single species, coast-wide management of fisheries was not working. Community-based fisheries management is successful in other countries, and we decided to try it in Port Orford.
Leesa Cobb is a fishermen’s wife and the executive director of Port Orford Ocean Resource Team (POORT). She directs the programs, secures funding, and works with the board to meet POORT’s goals and missions. Years ago, she began hearing about “community-based fishery management,” which involves the local fishing community in decisions about how local natural resources are managed based on scientific assessments of local habitat and fish populations.
Cobb calls it “bottom-up” ocean resource management, and she has steered the community toward alliances with conservation organizations, scientists, universities, business consultants and grant-giving foundations, which have helped them to assess local fish populations and habitat, allowed them to identify and participate in research projects, and offered financial support so they may access fishing permits. Cobb guides POORT toward collaborative projects that will strengthen the region’s environmental, social, and economic health — a triple bottom line.
I was disenchanted with the regulatory system and saw POORT as a vehicle to try and correct some of the problems.
Aaron Longton received his first boat, a wooden sled boat that his dad built, when he was twelve years old. A Roseburg kid, the son of a 20-year Navy man, Longton grew up with an instinct for fishing. During his first years with his sled boat, he would rush from the bus after school to fish the North Umpqua River. A few years later, in the mid-1970s, Longton and friends would cut high school classes to drive to Port Orford, an hour north of the California border, to maraud after salmon.
Longton is now president of the fishermen’s board of POORT, and in 2009, he started Port Orford Sustainable Seafood (POSS), Oregon’s first locally sourced, processed, and distributed Community Supported Fishery (CSF). CSFs directly connect fish lovers to fishermen, and are based on the Community Supported Agriculture model that has been around for decades.