Local fish farm project could be reduced in size

Nordic Aquafarms announced a switch to yellowtail kingfish at the company’s proposed facility in Humboldt Bay. Formerly, the company was planning to farm Atlantic salmon.
The company anticipates the aquafarm will “start smaller” than what was projected for Atlantic salmon, and the farm will use less freshwater and energy than previous designs.
This is following years of permitting work to get the project off the ground and a number of concerns raised from environmental groups.
“From the Baykeeper perspective, this is an improvement — partly just based on the sheer size of the thing, but also a lot of the concerns with Atlantic salmon will go away with this new species,” said Jennifer Kalt, executive director of Humboldt Baykeeper.
Questions have been raised about bringing Atlantic salmon to the region, which is not native to California. Kalt noted there has never been a permit in California to raise Atlantic salmon. Competition with local salmon fishermen and a lack of state-approved egg sources are no longer considerations for the farm, which would grow a species of fish eaten as sashimi.
Local environmental groups have yet to see updated plans that detail these changes.
The company still needs permits from the regional water board for discharge and intake, one from the California Coastal Commission, and one from the Army Corps of Engineers.
“A lot of people are really concerned about the nutrient discharge into the ocean. It would give a lot of people a lot more confidence that it can be done without harming the ocean and environment if they start on a small scale and we can see how it operates,” said Kalt.
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