SACRAMENTO – AB 1886, a bill by Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D – North Coast) that would help the Department of Fish and Game educate the aquaculture industry about sustainable practices, has been approved by both houses of the Legislature and is on the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown.
The bill would expand the duties of the Aquaculture Coordinator, a self-funded program within the DFG, and the industry will pay for the expansion.
“Aquaculture is an important industry in California, especially on the North Coast,” Chesbro said. “This clean, sustainable industry has benefitted from the educational services provided by the Aquaculture Coordinator program within Department of Fish and Game. The California Aquaculture Association has asked to pay for an expansion of this program by increasing licensing fees the industry pays. This legislation establishes a new fee structure and clarifies the role of the Aquaculture Coordinator position.”
AB 1886 also requires the DFG to ensure revenue from these fees is applied to the Aquaculture Coordinator program and provide an accounting of the program to the Legislature and the state’s Aquaculture Development Committee.
The main benefit the industry in California receives from the aquaculture coordinator program is education about industry practices, said Greg Dale, regional manager for Coast Seafoods Co. in Eureka, a major producer of oysters on Humboldt Bay.
“The Coordinator helps us educate the industry on sustainable aquaculture practices,” said Dale, a past president of the California Aquaculture Association. “The program also helps us educate the public that aquaculture is a green and sustainable industry.”
The California Aquaculture Association asked to be able to pay higher fees to expand the coordinator program, Dale added.