Monday meeting set to OK 30-acre lease; 80 local jobs foreseen

 

Hundreds of millions of dollars and 80 jobs are coming to Humboldt Bay, according to recent announcements from the harbor district and a Norwegian-owned fish farm company.

 

The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District Board of Directors at a special meeting Monday is set to consider leasing 30 acres on the Samoa Peninsula to California Marine Investments, a subsidiary of Norway-based Nordic Aquafarms, for use as a land-based aquaculture facility.

 

Nordic is considering raising salmon or steelhead at the proposed facility, pending negotiations with local permitting authorities. The company plans to submit permit applications by spring 2020, according to the release, which also highlighted local government support for the project.

 

Contacted Saturday by the Times-Standard, Jennifer Kalt, director of the Arcata-based environmental nonprofit Humboldt Baykeeper, said she had met with project proponents.

“They seem to have considered a lot of the major issues,” she said. “They aren’t going to be using nonnative fish, growth hormones or genetically modified fish.”

 

Kalt said she was “cautiously optimistic” that this is the type of project that can be developed in the bay and be respectful of coastal resources, contrasting Nordic Aquafarms’ plans with a previous proposal by the US Mine Corporation in 2015 to build an ore processing plant at the Samoa pulp mill site — a proposal that the company ultimately withdrew after encountering strong community concerns at a packed harbor district meeting.

 

“We’ll be looking very closely at what they’re proposing to discharge,” Kalt said of Nordic’s proposal. “They’ve said it’s a closed system, but it would discharge up to 7 million gallons [of water] a day” into the ocean, she said.

 

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