Fishermen, birders, researchers question Coast Seafoods plan
The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District is set to decide this evening whether to certify the environmental review of Coast Seafoods Company’s proposed 256-acre shellfish aquaculture expansion in Humboldt Bay.
The first phase of the expansion would add 165 acres of shellfish culture operations. The remaining 91 acres would be added after three to five years of monitoring by Coast Seafoods, which will have to implement an adaptive management plan to address any potential impacts to eelgrass beds.
Should the harbor district Board of Commissioners approve the plan, the expansion will still need to receive a water quality certification from the regional water quality control board, a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a coastal development permit from the California Coastal Commission, according to Dale. Dale said he hopes to begin the expansion this summer.
Several environmental advocates, bird hunters, fishermen and researchers state the project’s revised environmental impact report still does not address their concerns about the expansion’s impact on sensitive eelgrass beds in the bay and the wildlife that rely on them.
To address these concerns, Coast Seafoods reduced the size of the expansion and agreed to remove a quarter-acre of its existing long-line operations for every new acre added. More than 60 acres of existing operations will be removed if the plan is approved.
The full environmental review and other information about the proposed expansion can be found online at http://humboldtbay.org/coast-seafoods-company-humboldt-bay-shellfish-aquaculture-permit-renewal-and-expansion-project
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