Ventura Shellfish Enterprise site selection

by Oscar Peña, General Manager

On September 12, at 7:00PM the Ventura Port District Board of Port Commissioners will convene in Open Session at the Four Point Sheraton Ballroom, 1050 Schooner Drive, for its Regular Meeting.

One of the items on the agenda of special interest to the public is the Ventura Shellfish Enterprise (VSE) Site Selection Process. The Board of Port Commissioners will receive an Informational Report on the proposed site in federal waters approximately 3.53 miles from shore, northwest of the Ventura Harbor in the Santa Barbara Channel.

District staff and Seth J. Theuerkauf, Ph.D. with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will provide the Board of Port Commissioners with information about two alternatives for site selection in federal waters. This agenda item is on the District’s website for your review at

The public is invited to receive information on the Ventura Shellfish Enterprise site selection process and provide public comment.

The project consists of twenty 100-acre plots (total of 2,000 acres) located in open federal waters of the Santa Barbara Channel northwest of Ventura Harbor. The closest distance from the growing area to the City of Ventura city limit is 4.5 miles and approximately 4 miles from the Ventura Harbor. The sites will be used for growing the Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) via submerged long lines.

VSE Site Selection

The project was initially proposed to be located in waters of the State of California, i.e., within the 3-mile limit. The Ventura Port District, in collaboration with its key participants undertook extensive site selection public outreach that culminated in the decision to instead locate the project in federal waters so as to minimize conflicts with commercial halibut trawlers based in Ventura and Santa Barbara Harbors. NOAA’s National Ocean Service staff undertook a second siting study focused on federal waters proximate to Ventura Harbor.

The siting analysis represents an objective, data-driven approach to identify the locations within federal waters with the highest compatibility with the proposed project. The results of this siting analysis identify two alternative sites proximate to Ventura Harbor given equal consideration of existing use conflicts, including:

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