The benefits to fishermen who take advantage of membership in the Oregon Fishermen's Cable Committee include the following:
- Waiver of liability for damage to OFCC agreement-covered cables if the vessel follows the 'Procedures to Follow While Operating Near Submarine Fiber Optic Cables'.
- Agreement of the OFCC member cable owners not to pursue criminal action against vessel owners and operators if they have followed the 'Procedures' and accidentally damaged the fiber optic cable.
- Replacement of fishing gear when a vessel cuts away gear to protect a member cable. The OFCC has negotiated the creation of a Sacrificed Gear Fund account for the purpose of purchasing replacement gear as soon as it is available. The OFCC's goal is to get the vessel fishing again as soon as possible.
- Upon approval of a claim, a check for one-half the dollar value of the replacement gear for the lost time, lost catch and gear work associated with a gear sacrifice that follows the 'Procedures'.
- Eligibility for OFCC member vessels to enter future drawings
to charter their vessel as a patrol/guard vessel during
cable installation and repair operations. Charter rates
are currently $57.50/ft/day to a max of $4,887.50/day. For
those that are selected, 10 day charters are common.
- Representation by an organization that works to protect the trawl grounds from uses that would limit access to the trawl grounds.
Benefits to Cable Owner Members
The Oregon Fishermen's Cable Committee (OFCC) is a liaison group comprising trawl fishermen and owners of submarine fiber-optic cables that land on the Oregon Coast. Its mission is to promote communication, coordination and cooperation between the fishing industry and the owners and installers of undersea cables in the Oregon fishing grounds. As a result of its outreach activities, cable owners and the commercial fishing fleet working off the coast of Oregon enjoy and engage in a relationship built on mutual respect.
A cable owner realizes myriad benefits by partnering with the OFCC. Foremost is the protection of the owner's asset, the undersea fiber optic cable. This is due to the Oregon trawl fishing fleet being perhaps the most "cable aware" in the world
Informed and Involved Fleet
The OFCC regularly holds port meetings along the Oregon Coast
to educate the entire trawl fleet about new developments regarding
undersea cables in the fishing grounds, safe fishing operation
around cables, and to promote membership in the organization.
These meetings have historically been well-attended.
When a fisherman signs an Individual Fisherman's Agreement
(IFA) to join the OFCC, he agrees to comply with the Procedures
to Follow While Operating Near Submarine Fiber Optic Cables,
a comprehensive set of guidelines for fishing safely near
undersea cables. In return, the IFA grants him protection
from liability for inadvertent damage to member cables and
assures him of timely gear replacement should he have to sacrifice
his gear to protect a cable. Through this arrangement, the
fishermen are motivated to stay informed about cables in their
fishing grounds, and the undersea cables are treated with
care and respect. An OFCC lottery for patrol/guard boats to
assist during cable installations allows fishermen from the
West Coast the opportunity to participate in the installation
of member cables, creating a sense of "ownership" of the cables
amongst the fleet. OFCC fishermen have notified boats that
arrive from out of the area, advising them of the location
of the cables and the recommended safety procedures for fishing
Another benefit to cable owners is the involvement of OFCC
fishermen in the route planning and installation processes.
OFCC fishermen have contributed their extensive knowledge
of the seafloor during route planning and surveying. As a
result, cable owners working with the OFCC have achieved a
phenomenal cable burial record off the Oregon Coast. The OFCC
has been involved in the route planning of nine undersea cables.
As stated by Rob Munier, when he was Managing Director of
Global System Sales for Tyco Telecommunications, Inc. in a
publication for the attendees at the Pacific Telecom 2005
I think that the OFCC has been very successful in getting
the highest quality sets of installations anywhere in the
world because of the interactive nature and the obligation
that we feel as people working together.
Ease of Permitting Process
Furthermore, working with the OFCC can further expedite Oregon’s
streamlined permit process. Oregon State and Federal agencies
have supported our collaborative process. Permits for fiber
optic cable projects using the cooperative approach in Oregon
have been issued in time frames of about seven months to less
than two months, in one case.
Joining the Oregon Fishermen’s Cable Committee makes
smart business sense for a cable owner landing in Oregon.
OFCC membership enables the cable owner to enjoy positive,
productive relations with a knowledgeable and informed fishing
fleet. The involvement of OFCC members can facilitate an extraordinary
burial rate in the cable installation. In addition, OFCC support
can ease the permit process. To quote Oregon Governor Kate
Oregon has a long record of successful submarine cable
industry projects, a highly developed telecommunications infrastructure,
a workforce of skilled professionals for marine and terrestrial
telecommunications cable installation, and unparalleled cooperation
between its undersea cable operators, fishing industry, and
As chair of the State Land Board, which approves easements
for cable landings on the Oregon coast, I can assure you that
we will welcome and give full and timely consideration to
all landing requests. Please know that the Department of State
Lands and the Oregon Business Development Department along
with other involved state agencies will work in partnership
with you, as an undersea cable operator, and Oregon’s
fishing fleet to ensure the success of your project once approved.
Former Oregon Governor Theodore R. Kulongoski had said: "Working
together is the best way to keep this unique partnership healthy