Oceanside landing could add marine education and fishery science uses

OCEANSIDE — A landing operated by Helgrens Sportfishing could become a destination for more than anglers, according to a proposal the city of Oceanside announced it is considering.

Sea Star Charters, Chubasco Sportfishing and Pfledger Institute of Environmental Research (PIER) answered a Request for Proposals (RFP) earlier this year with a plan to convert the landing to a visitor-serving destination combining sportfishing with fishery science and marine education.

The new landing would be renamed Oceanside Sea Center.

Capt. Joe Cacciola, who helped put the Sea Star-Chubasco-Pfledger partnership together, hopes Oceanside Sea Center will become a visitor destination for anyone interested in learning about ocean resources and using them sustainably.

The redeveloped landing would serve the needs of the at-large community, according to Cacciola.

“Our concept with this new entity … it’s rather unique. We’re basically combining fishery science, marine education and sportfishing under one roof,” said Cacciola. “Right now we’re just beginning our initial meeting.”

Cacciola decided to put a team and proposal together after the city of Oceanside released an RFP for Helgrens’ anding. The city’s lease with Helgrens is set to expire on May 5, 2017, opening the door for the landing to be updated.

The proposal process was open to all parties, including Helgrens. Cacciola said his team was ultimately selected to negotiate with the city.

Plans are still raw and how Oceanside Sea Center ultimately takes shape will depend upon upcoming negotiations between the city and the team comprising of Cacciola, Chubasco’s Capt. Ernie Prieto, and Chugey Sepulveda of PIER.

A timeline has yet to be set for negotiations, though Cacciola hopes to get the ball rolling soon.

“We’re just looking toward the future,” said Cacciola.

Oceanside’s decision to award the leasehold for Helgrens’ landing to Cacciola comes after the Sea Star captain and Helgrens were reportedly embroiled in a long legal dispute.

One thought on “Oceanside landing could add marine education and fishery science uses

  • September 11, 2016 at 4:20 pm
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    Helgrens has been an Integral part of Oceanside Harbor and Village for about 40 years. While the addition of environmentally and educationally friendly tours is welcome, pushing out an established, healthy, service and tax generating harbor business is simply unfair! PIER and the Pfledger Institute tried to build an aquarium and research facility on the end of Harbor Beach 10-12 years ago and had to abandon the idea because of community resistance, voter pressure, and problems with the Coastal Commission. This is simply an end-run to establish a harbor presence for PIER at the expense of Helgrens and is ethically wrong!

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