USC’s Catalina Aquaculture Project

From ActCoastal

Month December
Year 2015
Summary The University of Southern California Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies (USC-WIES) applied for a permit to install and operate a shellfish aquaculture research facility for five years within a state-designated Marine Protected Area (MPA) located in Catalina Harbor. Environmental groups expressed significant concern over such development happening within an MPA and the fact that the project uses nonnative oysters – and thus is introducing a potentially invasive species to a protected marine habitat.
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Outcome Description After hearing testimony from environmental advocates who helped shape the state’s marine protected area network as well as from project proponents, commissioners approved the project unanimously. Although dismayed, advocates appreciated that the final version of the project includes improved monitoring requirements. Notable comment came from John Finger of Hog Island Oysters, who supported the project, but most importantly called for statewide guidelines for the shellfish industry to prevent the current laborious project-by-project manner of evaluation.
Why You Should Care The controversy over this project stemmed from the fact that it is sited within a marine protected area, but unlike other research projects in MPAs it is unrelated to the MPA itself. This potentially sets an unfortunate precedent for what is allowed in these unique and vital offshore areas, and runs contrary to the spirit and science in which the MPA network was created. Working with the Department of Fish & Wildlife, local stakeholders crafted regulations for each MPA; exemptions should be rare and related to research involving the marine protected area. To allow otherwise, as with this project, compromises the potential benefit of the individual MPA and the network as a whole.
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Decision Type Coastal Development Permit
Staff Recommendation Approval with conditions
Staff Report
Lobbyist/Agent Robert Smith, Plauche & Carr, LLP
Opposition to Project Heal the Bay, NRDC, Surfrider Foundation
Coastal Act Policies 30230, 30231, 30233, 30234, 30210, 30211, 30220

Voting Detail for USC’s Catalina Aquaculture Project

Individual vote detail for Issue: USC’s Catalina Aquaculture Project
Martha McClureBad Vote
Mary K. ShallenbergerBad Vote
Mary LuevanoBad Vote
Carole GroomBad Vote
Erik HowellBad Vote
Wendy MitchellBad Vote
Greg CoxBad Vote
Effie Turnbull-SandersBad Vote
Dayna BochcoBad Vote
Steve KinseyBad Vote
Roberto UrangaBad Vote
Mark VargasBad Vote

Meeting Page

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