response to pressure from the agencies.(Photo: goo
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Coast Seafoods Company is proposing to reduce its existing shellfish operations in Humboldt Bay inUNITED STATESTues

 
Coast Seafoods Company is proposing to reduce its existing shellfish operations in Humboldt Bay in

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Tuesday, August 08, 2017, 03:00 (GMT + 9)

 

Coast Seafoods Company is proposing to reduce its existing shellfish operations in Humboldt Bay in response to pressure from the agencies, according to Washington state documents.

The move takes place after the firm’s bid to expand its shellfish farming operations by more than 250 acres in the bay was shot down earlier this summer, Eureka Times-Standard stressed.

The Eureka-based company plans to remove a net 21.7 acres of its existing oyster and clam farming operations and proposes to create 12 acres of new cultivation area made up of four “test plots” where the company will monitor how its oyster and clam farming techniques impact eelgrass and Pacific black brant foraging in different areas in the northern portion of the bay.

“While Coast will cultivate shellfish from these parcels using its usual farming practices, the intent of the test plots is to monitor and evaluate environmental impacts associated with Coast’s proposed culture methods to inform any future proposal for any additional expansion, which would need to be approved by the Coastal Commission in an amendment to Coast’s Coastal Development Permit,” the company’s permit application states.

The plan would also have the company convert about 50 acres of its existing operations by increasing the spacing between its farming equipment, according to the documents.

       Two Farming Methods of Coast Seafoods Company (Photo: Coast Seafoods Company)

The California Coastal Commission also rejected the renewal of Coast Seafoods’ nearly 300 acres of existing clam and oyster farming operations in the bay and will consider whether to extend the company’s permits through the end of this year to allow it more time to consider Coast Seafoods’ revised plan.

Meanwhile, environmentalists were as split as the commission over the controversial expansion plan.

Commissioners who voted no at the June hearing at Humboldt State University said the proposed expansion was too big a leap, with too little scientific underpinning, despite Coast Seafoods’ commitment to extensive environmental monitoring and evaluation.

Foes testified on behalf of Audubon California (which considered the expansion illegal), California Waterfowl, the Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association and the Wiyot Tribe. The tribe objected that Manila clams might become prey to an overpopulation of oysters in their competition for plankton.

Humboldt Baykeeper and independent oyster farmers favored the expansion, backed by the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District Board of Commissioners. It had already gone on record early this year in unanimous support.

Like other backers, Jennifer Kalt, Humboldt Baykeeper’s boss, emphasized that oyster farming is vital to maintaining the bay’s excellent water quality and keeping it disease-free. She credited Coast Seafoods as a responsible steward and “a major ally in keeping our water drinkable, fishable and swimmable.”

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