by Emily Hamann
Update: The Harbor District approved Hog Island's permit and CEQA documents at Thursday's meeting.
Still not burned out on oysters? Well, you’re in luck! The Bay Area Hog Island Oyster Company is eyeing Humboldt Bay as the site for a new oyster hatchery. The Humboldt Bay Harbor District will vote on whether to grant Hog Island the permit it needs to start going through with its plans at tomorrow’s Board of Commissioners meeting. The Harbor District will grant the permit pursuant to the project’s compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.
If the permit is granted, though, John Finger, co-owner of the oyster company, faces a litany of licenses he still has to get before starting on the $1.5 million hatchery facility. He hopes the permitting will all be done by November, and at least part of the facility will be operational by spring of next year.
The site would be on Samoa off the end of Fay Avenue. There is an existing dock from an old pulp mill, but it is in rough shape, Finger said. The hatchery would include up to 16,500 square feet of floating rafts in the bay and a building, greenhouse and 2,000-gallon storage tank on land.
Finger said Humboldt Bay is ideal for growing oyster seed because of its high health certification, clean water deep waters just offshore. “Humboldt Bay has proven to be a great place to grow oyster seeds,” he said. Growing oyster seed involves buying or producing oyster larvae, then nurturing them in the floating beds and in tanks on land until they become between a quarter and three-quarters of an inch long. Then they’ll be sold or transported to Hog Island’s other facility on the Tomales Bay where they will be grown into full-size oysters.
The vote will happen tomorrow at the Harbor District Board of Commissioners Meetings at 7 p.m. in the Woodley Island Marina Meeting Room.