Draft Aquaculture Informational Report to be Presented to the Marine Resources Committee on March 17

Aquaculture operations
Aquaculture operations. CDFW photo

In 2006, the State enacted Senate Bill 201 which requires the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), in consultation with the Aquaculture Development Committee, to “prepare programmatic environmental impact reports (PEIRs) for existing and potential commercial aquaculture operations in both coastal and inland areas of the state [if certain conditions are met]…”. Due to the complexities of this legislation, a draft PEIR has not yet been published as CDFW continues to work towards determination of an appropriate path forward in both the design and implementation of a management framework for existing aquaculture operations and potential future operations.

As a step toward providing a common understanding of existing marine aquaculture activities in the State, the potential impacts of those activities, and future considerations of expansion, CDFW has developed a draft informational report on commercial marine aquaculture in California. Building off the extensive body of work that was developed for previous versions of the PEIR, the report describes the primary marine aquaculture species and culture methods currently approved, a summary of environmental settings and potential impacts, the current management context including primary policies and management authorities, and expected opportunities and challenges facing the future development and management of commercial marine aquaculture.

The draft report will be presented to the California Fish and Game Commission’s (Commission) Marine Resources Committee on March 17, and CDFW is recommending it be submitted to the Commission at their April 15-16, 2020 meeting to provide a foundation for public discussion around current and future commercial marine aquaculture in California.

post by Kathryn Johnson, CDFW Environmental Scientist