Humboldt County is poised to become a hub for aquaculture, as the Harbor District has approved a lease for a Norway-based company that aims to build a fish farm on the Samoa Peninsula.
The district’s Board of Commissioners approved a 30-year lease with a subsidiary of Nordic Aquafarms on February 11, in a closed session special meeting followed by a public hearing.
The Humboldt Baykeeper advocacy group has indicated that it will monitor the project and comment on it as it takes form. For now, the group has questioned the short timing between the lease’s approval and its prior public announcement.
Baykeeper’s staff met with Nordic Aquafarms before the lease approval and Jen Kalt, the group’s director, said the proposal is formative.
“They’ve said that they won’t grow Atlantic salmon, they won’t grow GMO fish and they won’t use antibiotics,” she continued. “But they’re not sure what fish they’re going to raise so they can’t point to the source of the fish stock or anything like that – there’s really nothing specific, it’s vague at this point.”
Baykeeper’s focus of concern will be on ocean discharge but “we haven’t had time to go into the details on that because this has come up so suddenly,” said Kalt.
Nordic Aquafarms will now work to gain ground on public interaction. The company’s representatives were in town for the entire week following the lease approval and Kalt said a meeting with Baykeeper and member groups of the Northcoast Environmental Center was set.