The Ventura Shellfish Enterprise (VSE), a multi-party collaboration to grow sustainably cultivated mussels in the Santa Barbara Channel near Ventura, will hold the first of a series of public information workshops on February 16, 2017. The workshop will provide an introduction to the benefits of shellfish aquaculture, how this crop is grown worldwide, and the specifics of the project proposed for Ventura.
Supported by a $300,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through the National Sea Grant College Program, it is anticipated that the Ventura Port District, as a member of VSE, will obtain all the permits and entitlements needed for cultivation of mussels that will be farmed by commercial fisherman in leased areas and landed at existing fish off-loading facilities in the Ventura Harbor.
“Supporting these partnerships to increase domestically farmed seafood for American consumers is a high priority for NOAA’s Office of Aquaculture and the National Sea Grant Program,” said Paul Olin, an aquaculture specialist with California Sea Grant.
Global demand for seafood is expected to grow while harvests from capture fisheries remain stable. Experts are looking to domestic aquaculture production to promote economic opportunities and provide a sustainable source of domestic seafood.
“The VSE project will provide a very helpful permit template that can be applied throughout California to help increase shellfish production and a sustainably-raised domestic food supply,” said Randy Lovell, State Aquaculture Coordinator with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Other volunteer partners in VSE include: The Cultured Abalone Farm, an onshore abalone growing operation in Goleta; Coastal Marine Biolabs, a nonprofit research-based science education organization with facilities in the Ventura Harbor; Ashworth Leininger Group, a local environmental consulting firm; and, California Sea Grant, a university-based program funded by NOAA and located at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
The workshop, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Channel Islands National Park Visitors Center, 1901 Spinnaker Drive, in the Ventura Harbor. Attendees can sign up for the workshop at venturashellfishenterprise.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the mailing list.