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Coast Seafoods alters oyster farming plans

Company's long-running battle with regulators continues.

California Coast Seafoods has revised its plan to expand its oyster and clam farms in Humboldt Bay, according to the Mad River Union newspaper.

In the revised proposal, it is even offering to shrink its existing farming area.

The Eureka company is seeking approval from the California Coastal Commission for a multi-year extension of beds that would span some 278.6 acres of intertidal and subtidal shellfish culture, versus the current 294 acres for growing Kumamoto and Pacific oysters, the paper said.

This is a major reversal of the 256-acre expansion the Coastal Commission rejected in early June on a narrow 6-5 vote.

Environmentalists were as split as the commission over the controversial expansion plan.

Under the revised proposal, to be introduced at a commission hearing Thursday, Aug. 10, the company would plant four test plots to monitor and evaluate the environmental impacts of its culture methods. The four new farming areas would cover some 12 acres, while 33.7 acres of existing cultivation would be removed.

With the proposed test plots, Coast Seafoods holds out the prospect of expanded farming in the more distant future. 

Coast Seafoods’ existing permits are due to expire Aug. 11. On Aug. 10, the Coastal Commission will consider extending them through Dec. 31.