West Coast
A large mussel farming operation is proposed for the waters off Ventura. Photo by South Australian Research and Development Institute via NOAA

CA - Did sea farm debacle sink California aquaculture?

Farming shellfish in deep ocean waters is a potentially lucrative industry in California. But environmental concerns, federal and state requirements and a recent failed project could be hard to overcome.

As pilot projects go, it couldn’t have gone much worse.

The nation’s first commercial shellfish farm in federal waters was supposed to provide a national model for sustainable aquaculture.

Bobbing in the Pacific Ocean six miles off Huntington Beach, the 100-acre Catalina Sea Ranch was cautiously approved in 2014 by a host of state and federal agencies. Considered an experiment, it was subject to strict operational oversight.

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