North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman and state Sen. Mike McGuire during today's hearing.
So far, so good. That's the early word in today's extensively titled forum, "Crab Season Outlook for 2016-17 and Modern Aquaculture in California by the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture
" taking place right now at the University of California Davis Marine Lab in Bodega Bay. Convened by the North Coast's own state Sen. Mike McGuire, who chairs the committee, and attended by our U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman, the hearing offers scientists and fishery experts a chance to give their take on the upcoming California crab season.
After last year's disastrous crab season was delayed due to high levels of the toxin domoic acid
, attendees were visibly relieved to hear relative good news from University of California Santa Cruz's Dr. Raphael Kudela, professor of ocean health, that while 2016 was "warm and toxic," the probability of a domoic acid bloom impacting North Coast crabs has decreased over the last month. This is "really good for crab and fisheries," Kudela said. Ultimately what things look like next year is highly dependent on winter storm conditions, he said, but right now, "good news!"
Additionally, this marks the first time that the Joint Committee has focused primarily on aquaculture (aka “farming in water"). The farmed fish, oysters and seaweed industry continues to expand and so today's panelists will explore finfish, shellfish, inland production and perspectives from state agencies.
Huffman noted his pride in the Second District's oyster farmers, noting the industry is not only "innovative" and "sustainable," but also "delicious." Representing that valued part of Humboldt's economy at the forum were Coast Seafood Company's Southwest Operations Manager (and Humboldt Bay Harbor Commissioner) Greg Dale and Hog Island Oyster Company co-founder and CEO John Finger.
The hearing will be live-streamed
until 4 p.m. and then archived for future viewing.