Our vision for Santa Barbara Sea Ranch is to build a locally owned and operated business that contributes to providing healthy, high quality Mediterranean mussels, Pacific oysters, and purple-hinge rock scallops to both local and global markets. We will create economic opportunities for our community, as well as serve to advance state and national goals for increased domestic aquaculture and secure food supply.
Established in May 2018, we are just getting started, but we have already accomplished a lot toward reaching our first milestone of being able to plant our first crop. Very importantly, we are working with leaders and members of the local fishing community to ensure that our plans are compatible with the needs of others, and that our impact, beyond aquaculture, is a positive one.
We have been working with state and local agencies to obtain the necessary state water bottom lease, permits, and approvals that are required in order to begin operations. Our project is now listed on the Fish and Wildlife's Permit Counter in order to foster collaboration and efficiency of process between agencies. There are participants from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Fish and Game Commission, California Coastal Commission, California State Lands Commission, US Army Corps of Engineers, California State Water Resources Control Board, California Department of Public Health, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S Coast Guard. It's already a lot of work, but so far everyone involved has been very supportive and encouraging, and we are optimistic that together we will create a new paradigm for enabling growth in offshore aquaculture.
Since November, while we have worked to secure all of these permits and approvals, we have been taking water samples at the proposed lease location in accordance with a sampling plan designed by the California Department of Public Health in order to show that the selected lease location meets the standards of the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP, 2017). Thanks to all of the recent rains, by October we will have met the sampling requirements needed to qualify the lease location for growing. The water is perfect! We hope to have all of the other permits and approvals in hand by that time so we can begin to deploy our gear this year and plant our first crops in the Spring.