Ocean Frontiers: Port Orford Fishermen Protect Ocean & Way of Life

Port Orford is a small fishing community on the southern Oregon coast that relies on a rich ocean ecosystem for their livelihoods. To put them on a path toward sustainability, they have recently designated the Port Orford Community Stewardship Area to both protect the ocean and their economy. The Stewardship Area encompasses 1,300 square miles, which includes their traditional fishing grounds and the upland watersheds that feed into them.

The Port Orford Ocean Resource Team, or POORT, is run by commercial fishermen who are dedicated to maintaining access to natural resources by people who are fishing selectively, while promoting sustainable fisheries and protecting marine biological diversity. They operate on the triple bottom line: ecology, equity and economics. Partners include the City of Port Orford, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Surfrider Foundation, South Coast Watersheds Council, Redfish Rocks Community Team and Friends of Elk River among others.

Port Orford has developed a communal vision to sustain their fisheries and their ecosystem as one. In order to have a sustainable fishery and economy, they have initiated local science research to inform their fishery management, established a marine reserve and marine protected area, and have protected upstream forests to save their salmon—a farsighted perspective that considers both their links to the land, and the future of their children.

Learn More from the People in Ocean Frontiers


Video Clips

  • Saving my Town’s Ocean Economy – Leesa Cobb, fisherman’s wife and executive director of the Port Orford Ocean Resource Team, visits the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to see first hand how commercial and recreational fishermen and  ocean businesses in general thrive in a Marine Sanctuary.
  • Meet the fishermen of the Port Orford Ocean Resource Team – See the beautiful place where they live and hear their story in their own words.