Nordic Aquafarms proposes to build a land-based fish farm at the former Samoa pulp mill that they say would use a mixture of fresh and salt water to raise 27,000 metric tons of Atlantic Salmon, discharging 12.5 million gallons of effluent daily through the existing 1½-mile long ocean outfall. Bay intakes would supply 10 mgd saltwater, while 2mgd freshwater would be supplied by the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District. Remodeling the former pulp mill would include removing the smokestack and other asbestos- and lead-laden structures, debris, and contaminated soil. 
  • Click HERE for our comments on the County Coastal Development Permit and Special Permit, submitted on behalf of Humboldt Baykeeper, Surfrider Foundation, EPIC, NEC, Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities, and Sierra Club - July 27, 2022. To submit your own comments to the Humboldt County Planning Commission, send them via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Click HERE for our comments on the Draft EIR, submitted on behalf of Humboldt Baykeeper, Surfrider Foundation, EPIC, NEC, 350 Humboldt, Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities, Save Our Salmon, and Sierra Club - Feb. 18, 2022.
  • Click HERE for our scoping comments submitted for the Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report on behalf of Humboldt Baykeeper, Surfrider Foundation, EPIC, NEC - July 6, 2021.
  • Click HERE for our comments on the Regional Water Board's draft NPDES permit on behalf of Humboldt Baykeeper, Surfrider Foundation, and EPIC - June 4, 2021.
  • Click HERE for our comments on the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration submitted on behalf of Humboldt Baykeeper, Surfrider Foundation, EPIC, NEC, 350 Humboldt, and Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities - May 24, 2021.
  • Click HERE for our initial statement on the proposed land-based fish farm - 2019
We will continue to watchdog Nordic Aquafarms’ proposal, and will keep our members and the community informed of opportunities for input. To receive updates, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The proposed Nordic Aquafarms California fish farm project on the Samoa Peninsula lurched forward Aug. 28 as the Board of Supervisors, at the end of a nine-hour meeting, voted unanimously, with Fifth District Supervisor Steve Madrone absent, to reject an appeal of the project's environmental impact report and grant the company three necessary permits. But the board's action came with some conditions: The company must produce an annual "sustainability report" to track its greenhouse emissions — including those caused by fish food consumption and its fleet of delivery trucks — and it must hold an annual forum to discuss issues that have arisen during the year, while donating a minimum of $25,000 yearly to an "appropriate community project."
In addition, the project's construction must proceed in two phases, and the second phase cannot begin until the first — which includes cleaning and remediating the polluted site it will occupy — is satisfactorily completed.
Nordic is still a long way from breaking ground. It must get additional permits from the California Coastal Commission, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, the National Marine Fisheries and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before it can proceed.
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Near the end of a roughly seven-hour special meeting on Wednesday, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors denied an appeal of the environmental report regarding Nordic Aquafarms’ proposed fish farm on the Samoa Peninsula.
The supervisors voted 4-0 with 4th District Supervisor Steve Madrone absent to deny the appeal brought forward by the Redwood Region Audubon Society, 350 Humboldt and the Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association who argued that the recently certified environmental impact report inadequately analyzed the scope of several project elements including greenhouse gas emissions and biological concerns.
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Last week, the Humboldt County Planning Commission unanimously voted to certify the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and issue a coastal development permit to Nordic Aquafarms California, LLC, a subsidiary of Norway-based Nordic Aquafarms, which intends to build a 766,530-square-foot recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility on the Samoa Peninsula.
After the decision, we reached out to a number of leaders of local environmental organizations who have criticized the project to ask for their responses. To a person, they deferred commenting until after meeting yesterday morning to discuss the matter. Yesterday evening they emailed a joint media statement, which we’ve published below. 
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Two weeks after the Humboldt County Planning Commission certified the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for Nordic Aquafarms’ planned land-based fish factory on the Samoa Peninsula, the decision is being appealed to the Board of Supervisors. Leaders of three local nonprofits — the Redwood Region Audubon Society Chapter, the Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association and 350 Humboldt — submitted a letter to the supervisors and to John Ford, the county’s director of planning and building, initiating the appeal. 
The letter alleges that the environmental report, which was prepared for the county by local engineering firm GHD, violates the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by understating several of the project’s impacts, including its greenhouse gas emissions, its energy use and the threats it poses to commercial fisheries and coastal and bay ecosystems. 
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The Humboldt County Planning Commission last night heard a series of informational reports followed by nearly two hours’ worth of public comment, which didn’t leave the deliberative body any time to deliberate and vote on the $650 million land-based fish farm that’s been proposed for the Samoa Peninsula. Thus, the hearing to consider certifying the project’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and the approving two key permits was continued to next week’s meeting on Thursday, Aug. 4.
The earliest batch of public comments was dominated by members of the Operating Engineers Local 3 union, who showed up to the meeting in force to advocate for the project, saying it would create much-needed living-wage jobs and allow them to show their kids something they’re proud to have helped build.The earliest batch of public comments was dominated by members of the Operating Engineers Local 3 union, who showed up to the meeting in force to advocate for the project, saying it would create much-needed living-wage jobs and allow them to show their kids something they’re proud to have helped build.

But plenty of people offered criticism and opposition, too, and as the public comment shifted from in-person to call-in, the balance gradually shifted toward members of local environmental groups who advocated either additional conditions of approval or outright denial of the project.
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