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..

Nordic Aquafarms founder and president Erik Heim and his wife, Executive Vice President/Commercial Director Marianne Naess, have unexpectedly parted ways with the Norway-based company.

Heim and Naess have been the faces of Nordic’s Humboldt County project since it was first announced, nearly three and a half years ago. 

Reached for comment over the holiday weekend, Naess emailed a statement to the Outpost, saying, “There is never a perfect time to leave a company, but this was the right time for Erik and me.”'

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North Coast Journal Malibox February 17 

 

Editor:
In a complex world, it's often tempting to boil things down to two sides: right or wrong, for or against (the "Bring It On" letter, Mailbox, Feb. 10). It's much easier than taking the time to study an issue closely before forming an opinion. From an environmental activist's perspective, there are three types of projects. There's the "totally unacceptable," like the proposed coal train (these are the issues that most often make news headlines). There are "bring it on" projects, like the plan to build the Eureka Regional Transit and Housing Center (aka EaRTH Center) on an Old Town parking lot. Then there are projects that could be done without harm to the environment if done right — but if done poorly, they could have major impacts. Nordic Aquafarms' proposed fish farm at the former pulp mill is an example of this type of project. There are potential benefits, including the jobs Ms. Aguiar hopes for, along with the cleanup of a major contaminated industrial site. Humboldt Baykeeper staff, volunteers, interns and our colleagues at EPIC, CRTP, 350 Humboldt, Surfrider and NEC have spent countless hours over the past three years poring over technical documents, meeting with Nordic and its experts to understand the project, asking questions and suggesting improvements. Some changes have been made, while others have not. We still think the project can be done with fewer impacts but still needs quite a bit of improvement. We'll keep working on it.
Jennifer Kalt, McKinleyville

 

Comments are due February 18th on Humboldt County’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Nordic Aquafarms project - a massive land-based fish factory at the former Samoa pulp mill. Baykeeper staff, volunteers, student interns, and our NGO allies have been following this project closely for three years. While the project’s benefits include cleanup of the site, we continue to have serious misgivings about its impacts on the ocean, bay, and greenhouse gas emissions. 

The DEIR, prepared for the county by engineering firm GHD, concludes that, with mitigation measures, the project will have no significant environmental impacts. That’s the same conclusion reached in the Initial Study released last April. But environmental stakeholders argue that this finding is based on insufficient baseline data and analysis.
None we spoke to said they’re outright opposed to the project, for which plans to spend millions of dollars further remediating the Humboldt Bay Harbor District’s blighted former pulp mill property on the peninsula. But they’re asking for some modifications and commitments in hopes of lessening the fish farm’s environmental impacts.
If anyone was looking for a reason to doubt the strict veracity of the DEIR, the authors seem to have inadvertently provided one: Deep in the report, on page 53 of Appendix D (Marine Resources), former GHD senior scientist Ken Mierzwa is listed as one of four preparers. Trouble is, he says he was not involved.

The public has two weeks left to provide input on Nordic Aquafarms’ draft environmental impact report for its proposed onshore fish farm on the Samoa Peninsula.

The project includes clean-up and redevelopment of the defunct Samoa pulp mill facility followed by the construction of five buildings with a combined footprint of approximately 766,000 square feet. 

The behemoth document, which is roughly 1,800 pages long, found no areas in which the proposed farm would have a significant impact on the local environment. The minimal impact of some of the farm’s operations will have mitigating strategies in place, according to the document.

Jennifer Kalt, director of Humboldt Baykeeper, expressed her gratitude to Nordic for pursuing an EIR but said there is still concern surrounding ocean discharge and the potential to exacerbate toxic algae.

“We appreciate Nordic’s willingness to incorporate additional monitoring after the project is approved, but they used water quality data from inside Humboldt Bay in the model they used to show there won’t be impacts,” Kalt said. “Without relevant data on current conditions closer to the discharge point, it’s unclear how the discharge could alter the ocean environment.”

Delia Bense-Kang, a spokesperson for the Surfrider Foundation, had similar concerns.

“Since the 1991 Surfrider and Environmental Protection Agency Clean Water Act settlement made the pulp mills clean up their operations, the Samoa Peninsula has become one of the most popular surfing and bathing beaches in Humboldt County,” Bense-Kang said. “While the wastewater would not be as toxic as the pulp mills, there are still lots of unknowns such as significantly elevated temperatures of discharge — 68 to 72 degrees — we’d like to see analyzed with better data and modeling.”

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