Friday, January 20, 2017

Expand Our Oyster Industry

After reading the Times- Standard story on last night's Harbor District meeting where the district rejected Coast Seafoods' environmental impact report submitted in support of expanding their oyster farms in the bay, I'm still not sure why they rejected it. Maybe simply a procedural issue since one commissioner was absent? The story itself says there was a lot more oysters being raised in the past. I fail to see how more oysters would be a problem now.

Some of you might recall a year or two ago when hysterical environmentalists in Marin County shut down the Drakes Bay Oyster Company because it wasn't deemed natural enough. I'm wondering if maybe the same hysterical big city types are up here trying to do the same thing?

 I see Stan Brandenburg testified in opposition to the expansion. Is he any relation to local gadfly, Sue Brandenburg, who's usually against everything?

Whether it would be profitable to expand the oyster farm is Pacific Seafoods' problem. I fail to see what harm would come from trying. 


19 Comments:

At 8:47 AM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

Fred, some observations:

1) why expand?
- more profit
- losing profit
- over culturing spoiled the farm
- need more farm now

So profit is falling short because what is now being farmed is less and less in quantity because of all the years the farming has sterilized the production of oysters.

2) who actually stares long enough over the muddy bay to be offended by oyster farming?

Regardless, who would ingest the oysters coming out of Humboldt Bay? After all the toxic headlines over the years, no stories ever about why the oysters are not bought locally, but exported.

Be treating to see the business numbers on deliveries.

 
At 8:50 AM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

"Interesting", not treating.

College graduates undermine themselves with their artsy fartsy techno software world desires that were already flawed at the design phase of that graduates own birthday.

All software has built-in flaws that reminds us all everyday of how unfortunate daily tasks have become.

 
At 9:05 AM, Blogger uri driscoll said...

I too was in favor of more oyster production in the bay and still am. To a degree.
Once I started asking questions and looking at the EIR this is basically what I found.
It did not adequately address the cumulative effects to things like other oyster farmers that may and will want to farm that are not Coast Seafood. The effects on black brant foraging and the hazards to duck hunters. There was no mention as to the effects on increased shipping, should that occur, as Commissioner Marks has pointed out.



 
At 9:10 AM, Anonymous runguy16 said...

The reason it didn't pass is procedural, it's right in the article.

"the item was not passed due to it not gaining a majority vote from the five-member commission."

Due to the conflict of Greg Dale and the vacancy created by Mike Wilson it needed a 3-0 vote with the current make up of the board.

 
At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"hysterical environmentalists in Marin County shut down the Drakes Bay Oyster Company because it wasn't deemed natural enough. I'm wondering if maybe the same hysterical big city types are up here trying to do the same thing?"

Doesn't seem to line up that way. Pat Higgins, who is a fisheries biologist very much supported by our local environmentalists, "hysterical" and otherwise, voted in favor of the plan.

And as the article noted:

"For Doss [the lone vote against the plan], the report did not adequately take into consideration impacts to the general public’s use of state lands — namely of hunters."

It also notes:

"The vote came after nearly an hour of public comment by more than 20 environmentalists, hunters, former harbor commissioners, oyster farmers and local business owners."

And

" Several speakers, who were mostly hunters...stated that the proposal would also impact foraging waterfowl."

Doesn't really sound like "hysterical environmentalists" and "big-city types" led to the failure.

 
At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The biggest factor was that one seat on the board is vacant, and another occupied by an employee of Coast Seafood, who couldn't vote. This left a situation where all three of the commissioners who were there to vote would have had to be unanimous.

Perhaps when the seat recently vacated by Wilson is filled, that person will favor the proposal and the board will have the 3 votes they need. Or maybe Greg Dale will resign and someone who doesn't work for Coast Seafoods will replace him, and become the 3rd votes,

[Would be kind of ironic if NOT having their own guy on the Commission ends up being the only way Coast Seafood's application gets through. Kind of highlights how that's a double-edged sword -- great for the company in that their employee can vote in their interests on general matters that apply to their industry as a whole. But the employee isn't allowed vote on something as directly beneficial his employers interests as this would be, and has to recuse himself. On the one hand, the company knows it won't be getting a "no" vote from that seat (which can come in handy, for sure), but on the other hand, in a case like this, it also means they couldn't get a "yes" vote when they really needed it.

 
At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HOJ said: "So profit is falling short because what is now being farmed is less and less in quantity because of all the years the farming has sterilized the production of oysters."

Are you saying this is actually what has happened, as in you have some evidence that productivity is down in the existing areas under their management, are are you just guessing?

HOJ said: "Regardless, who would ingest the oysters coming out of Humboldt Bay? After all the toxic headlines over the years, no stories ever about why the oysters are not bought locally, but exported."

I don't know what overall local consumption of oysters is, but I know that plenty of locals gobble down lots of local oysters at Oysterfest each year.

And of course the main reason that the majority of Humboldt oysters are sold elsewhere is that the potential customer base outside the county's borders is huge and Humboldt's population is small.


 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger gabriele gray said...

The Drakes Bay Oyster Farm has an interesting back story. The 'Pacific' oysters were in fact imported from Japan but renamed due to WWII.
When the National Seashore was announced it included a 40 year lease for the oyster farm...much more than other agricultural leases. The story is told here and has information which might also apply to Humboldt Bay oysters: They're not indigenous.
http://civileats.com/2015/08/26/the-oyster-war-what-really-happened-to-drakes-bay-farm/

 
At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article plainly states why it was rejected. One commissioner didn't vote because he works for the company. One commissioner's seat is vacant because he's now a board supervisor. For the vote to be successful, it needed a majority of the 5 seats, meaning all 3 voting members had to vote yes.

The one member who voted 'no' explained his vote:

1. "the report did not adequately take into consideration impacts to the general public’s use of state lands — namely of hunters."

2. "the project’s 'cumulative effect' on the growth of other oyster producers in the bay needs to be assessed in greater detail,"

Those are quotes from the article which paraphrased his reasoning. Rather than speculate why he voted no, take him at his word unless you have a reason not to.

 
At 12:10 PM, Anonymous BGG said...

Expand yes. Corporate expansion no.

 
At 8:50 AM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

URI, why would you shun an oyster business that wants to farm now because you feel it is better to put a cap on farming so that future "maybees" might farm?

First come, first serve, if the future maybees want in now, then they best get farming now or find a different fishing hole to claim.

 
At 8:52 AM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

URI, think about it, the Harbor District bought a dredger, so why would extra shipping be such a concern when the whole point of Bay Operations is to increase shipping too.

 
At 8:54 AM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

Procedural was undermined by vacancies of vote.

Let's just say the issue is not going anywhere fast.

 
At 8:55 AM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

What does the Coastal Commission say?

 
At 8:57 AM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

This is what the company rep said.......Productivity is dropping because the mudflats are less viable now.

 
At 9:02 AM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

Of course oysters are desired, otherwise the expansion plan would not be requested.

Thing is, local oysterfest participants don't sign a form that states their oysters are local, so no telling where they come from, but if you live at the docks, chances are better you'll get local oysters.

The stores don't carry local oysters as advertised, but maybe ENF does, have not checked there yet.

 
At 9:04 AM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

Oysterfest began because of poor local sales and local elites who wanted a artsy fartsy events promote consumer sales of oysters, that local natural resource that is not trees or Salmon.

 
At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Terrible reading comprehension Fred...

 
At 12:18 PM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

Burnt toast causes cancer, acrylimide they say, don't tread on Fred, just because you're having a bad day.

 

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