Californian authorities approve Nordic Aquafarms lease and terms of wastewater discharge

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The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District approved a 30-year lease that includes a right for the company to discharge six million gallons of wastewater per day at the former pulp mill.

Nordic Aquafarms’s second US salmon farm is pushing forward, according to northcoastjournal.

The California-based site will bring Nordic Aquafarm’s total US output to 50,000 tonnes of salmon – likely salmon or steelhead – per annum. Its subsidiary California Marine Investments entered on Monday into an exclusive option agreement with the Humboldt Bay Harbor District to lease 30 acres of an old pulp mill in Humboldt County, California.

The publication reported that the agreement comes with two automatic 10-year renewals but also includes a three-year option, or “planning period,” during which the company will be pursuing the necessary permits before the full lease would go into effect.

During that time, Nordic will pay the harbour district USD 20,000 a year in rent which will increase to USD 159,128 annually after the three-year mark. Included in the terms is the right for the company to discharge 6 million gallons of wastewater per day using the site’s ocean outfall pipe, which extends 1.5 miles offshore.

“This is step one,” Commissioner Larry Doss told the harbor district meeting. “This is the beginning of due diligence,” he added.

The publication reported that people the crowded meeting were involved in the commercial fishing industry and had concerns. “We’re going to be selling fish and you’re going to be selling fish, so I think there’s some conflict there,” one speaker said.

Nordic Aquafarms’ founder Erik Heim attended the harbor district meeting, said local input is a “key component” for the company and noted he understood the concerns of local fishermen, saying he would like to “look for opportunities to work together.”