Oysters in Humboldt in 1932

February 24, 2013

Humboldt Bay Oyster Seed Dike, 1932 (Bonnut/County Collection)

Apparently the folks at the North Coast Journal knew back in 1995 that “Oysters have been commercially grown and harvested in Humboldt Bay for more than 100 years” but I had no idea.

And the industry continues to grow.

In August of 2011, the Times Standard reported that the Headwaters Fund put $200,000 into the industry. The funds are allowing the  Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District to go through the lengthy and expensive  permitting process for mariculture plots and then lease the “pre-permitted” property to oyster farmers—drastically reducing the costs to those small business owners.

According to Dawn Elsbree, Executive Director of the Headwaters Fund, the Humboldt Bay Harbor District is now about half way through the grant and working on the pre-permitting process.  They have been mapping the bay and working with regulatory agencies to resolve environmental concerns. They are also preparing a US Army Corps permit application and a CEQA initial study,  as well as finalizing the model they’ll eventually use to evaluate potential project effects on phytoplankton. Apparently state and federal agencies are watching the project and shell fish growers are interested as well – and  there seems to be potential for the project to be a model for other communities.

I have the original grant proposal but can’t figure out how to attach to my blog–email me if you want me to send you a copy- historyaddicts@gmail.com.

And visit my friend Sebastian’s website, Aqua Rodeo Farms to get better acquainted with one of our local oyster farmers.