In a standing room only meeting Thursday evening, the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District Board of Commissioners voted to reject an environmental impact report for Coast Seafoods Company’s proposed 260-acre oyster farming expansion project in Humboldt Bay.
The commission voted 2-1 — with 1st Division Commissioner Larry Doss dissenting — to approve the report, but the item was not passed due to it not gaining a majority vote from the five-member commission. Second Division Commissioner Greg Dale had recused himself from the meeting because his position as the southwest operations manager for Coast Seafoods was a conflict of interest. The 3rd Division seat is currently empty after Mike Wilson became a Humboldt County supervisor at the start of the year.
For Doss, the report did not adequately take into consideration impacts to the general public’s use of state lands — namely of hunters.
“The way I interpret it is if an entity of the public is not in favor of a permitting process or an action that we have to take strong heed to that and consider everyone’s use of the bay,” he said.
He also said that the project’s “cumulative effect” on the growth of other oyster producers in the bay needs to be assessed in greater detail, despite several local oyster farmers not associated with Coast Seafoods voicing their support for the expansion that evening.