Action Alert: Tell Humboldt County to Fully Review and Mitigate Fish Factory

Thank you the EPIC for the following information.

Update: June 7, 2021

Attend the public meeting on Thursday, June 10 at 6pm.

In response to public comments, Humboldt County has announced it will start preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Nordic Aquafarms proposed land-based finfish recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility on the Samoa Peninsula. The County had previously issued an Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) for the project, but environmental organizations and the public demanded a more in-depth study of the potential environmental impacts of the fish farm.

Initial scoping meetings will be held on Thursday, June 10 with the public meeting starting at 6pm. This is an opportunity for members of the public and affected agencies to present and hear ideas and concerns about the project.

Meeting info:
Passcode: 673021

Call in via telephone at 346-248-7799,
enter meeting ID 916 0085 9767,
Password: 673021


Update: May 25, 2021

Media Statement
Enviro Coalition Thanks Nordic and County for Listening to Concerns
More Thorough Analysis Will Improve Project, Public Reception

May 25, 2021

EUREKA, Calif.—In response to news from Nordic Aquafarms and Humboldt County that the county will pursue a full environmental impact report for the proposed fish farm, a coalition of North Coast environmental organizations thank the company and county for listening to community concern and their commitment to rigorous environmental review.

“Our organizations called for the preparation of an environmental impact report because we believed that this project—which is unlike anything seen before in Humboldt County or even the state of California—could benefit from more thorough environmental impact review and public participation,” said Jennifer Kalt, director of Humboldt Baykeeper.

“Process matters. Thorough environmental impact review does two things: it allows the public to better engage with a project, helping to better shape and mold the project to reduce impacts and it allows the public to see and trust that this is safe for Humboldt Bay,” said Tom Wheeler, executive director of EPIC. “We are happy that the county and Nordic are moving forward in the right way.”

Among the impacts that the coalition anticipate will be better studied and ultimately mitigated are greenhouse gas emissions and impacts to coastal communities and coastal access.

“While this project would require a significant amount of energy, raising the risk of considerable greenhouse gas emissions, there are easy ‘fixes,’” said Dan Chandler of 350 Humboldt. “We expect that Nordic will commit to using 100% renewable energy throughout the project and will increase the amount of solar produced at the project site.”

“Addressing transportation needs for a somewhat remote and rural area can be challenging but we have provided Nordic with ways to both reduce emissions from cars and trucks and improve worker morale, such as employee vanpools, improved bike and pedestrian facilities, and a commitment to use zero-emission vehicles,” said Colin Fiske, executive director of the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities.

“The Samoa Peninsula is a popular place for surfing, fishing and beach-going, so potential effects to water quality and coastal access as a result of this project are naturally a concern and need to be thoroughly analyzed for impacts and mitigation needs,” said Delia Bense-Kang Surfrider Foundation’s Northern and Central California Regional Coordinator.

The willingness of the company and county to conduct this review stands in contrast to the well-publicized failure to do so for other large and potentially impactful projects, such as the Rolling Meadow cannabis project.

“Too many projects slip through without a meaningful attempt to consider all the environmental impacts,” said Larry Glass, executive director of the Northcoast Environmental Center (NEC). “If the county routinely scrimps on environmental impact review and tries to be quick and cheap, we have to take a stand to preserve our environmental laws.”

Update: May 25, 2021

Response from Nordic Aquafarms:

“Nordic´s philosophy is to work closely with local communities and stakeholder groups to ensure a best possible project within the project scope.

A request for an EIR has been conveyed from several stakeholders during the recent public comment period. In addition, Nordic sees this as an opportunity to address concerns that have been raised as part of the public comment period.

Many of the issues raised are already studied and we have good documentation to underscore our conclusions. Nordic will make sure that this information and potential additional assessments will be included in the EIR. Nordic believes that addressing those in a full EIR will provide the community and stakeholders with answers.

We hope to continue to work well with the different stakeholder groups in developing this project in Humboldt and we appreciate the dialog and input that we have gotten so far.

A notice of preparation (NOP) will be sent out shortly. Please reach out if you have questions.”

Update: May 24, 2021

Read the comment letter to Nordic Aquafarms from EPIC, Humboldt Baykeeper, the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities, the Northcoast Environmental Center, Surfrider Foundation and 350 Humboldt.

Click here for the full letter

Computer-generated illustration shows how proposed project would look on the Samoa Peninsula. Image courtesy of Nordic Aquafarms

Original Post: May 19

Comments are due May 24 on the County’s review of the environmental impacts of Nordic AquaFarms’ proposed land-based fish factory. The project would involve redeveloping nearly 36 acres at the former pulp mill in Samoa to produce 73 million pounds of fish per year. Twelve million gallons of treated wastewater would be released into the ocean daily, 1.5-miles from shore. Most of that water would come from Humboldt Bay, with up to 3 million gallons/day coming from the Mad River through existing pipelines.

Humboldt Baykeeper, Surfrider Foundation, EPIC, the Northcoast Environmental Center, the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities and 350 Humboldt are teaming up to review and comment on the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration.

We need your help. Join us in calling on the County to prepare an Environmental Impact Report for the project and to incorporate more mitigation measures to reduce potential harm to ocean wildlife. Below are some talking points to help!

  • Environmental Impact Review is necessary. The project, one of the largest in recent memory, requires an environmental impact report. This kind of environmental analysis better allows for public participation in the decision making process and is likely to help reduce environmental impacts through better study. Included in this EIR should be a consideration of all components of the project, including water intake, which had been deferred to a separate, future review.
  • Additional mitigation measures to help reduce impacts. Additional mitigation measures for the project are reasonable and necessary.
    • Energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The project would require 21.5 MW—about 15% of the energy produced by the PG&E plant at King Salmon. A portion of this will be offset by solar panels, but we are calling on Nordic to formally commit to using 100% renewable energy.
    • Impacts on marine life from feed sources. Commercial fish feed contains meal and oil made from small fish like herring. Known as “forage fish,” they are a critical food source for wild fish and marine mammals. We want assurances that these forage fish will be harvested sustainably and that Nordic will try to reduce animal protein in their feedstock to the maximum extent feasible.
    • Impacts from new truck and car trips. The project will generate 95 additional truck trips per week, and 150 employees will commute to and from the site—all on roads with no active transportation infrastructure. We’re asking for Nordic to provide better bike and pedestrian facilities for Highway 255 and New Navy Base Road, a vanpool for employees at shift changes, and an adaptive management plan requiring adoption of zero emission trucks and other vehicles as they become commercially available.
  • Monitoring and adaptive management necessary to compensate for uncertainty of impacts. Nordic AquaFarms believes that the effluent released from the project will not result in any adverse effects to the environment. This may be true, but given the newness of the technology and the complexity of predicting impacts from new nutrient discharge, we believe that this project would be improved by monitoring and disclosure of actual effluent discharge and incorporation of objective adaptive management provisions if environmental impacts are worse than anticipated. Monitoring and adaptive management is a common feature in projects where uncertainty or controversy exists.

Submit your comments by May 24 to
A County Planning Commission hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 3 at 6pm.
We’ll be submitting substantive comments, but your voice is important!