Nordic Aquafarms to build huge indoor fish farm in California

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New land-based farm in Humboldt, California, on the horizon.

The company behind one of the US’ largest indoor salmon farms is now heading west, according to a press release. The California site will bring Nordic Aquafarm’s total US output to 50,000 tonnes of salmon per annum.

Coast to coast
California Marine Investments, will on Monday enter into an exclusive option agreement with the Humboldt Bay Harbor District to lease 30 acres on the Samoa peninsula near Eureka in Humboldt County. This will be the company’s second land-based aquaculture facility in the US, and its first on the West Coast. According to Nordic Aquafarms´ CEO Bernt-Olav Roettingsnes, the agreement is aligned with the company´s US strategy of building its facilities close to the regional markets it plans to serve.

Its USD 400 million Belfast, Maine project will be built later this year.

“As we did on the East Coast, we conducted a thorough search over the past few months to find the right location for our West Coast expansion,” said Nordic Aquafarms’ US President Erik Heim. “This site meets all of our criteria for building a safe, clean, and sustainable fish farm, and we have been welcomed by local authorities who are excited about the many benefits this project can bring to the area.”

Samoa old pulp mill
The site, believed to be the Samoa old pulp mill, already has an outfall pipe in place and has established access to fresh and seawater sources as well as a substation with power on site. Key permits such as aquaculture licences are also already in place.

Heim said the company is considering raising salmon or steelhead as options for the land-based facility, which will use state-of-the-art recirculating aquaculture system, or RAS, technology. A final decision on which species to raise will be based on market considerations market and further discussions with the local permitting authorities.

“We will now be situated on both coasts, which fits into our strategy of locating fish farms close to major regional markets,” said Commercial Director Marianne Naess. “The Humboldt location will enable us to reach more than 50 million people within a 12-hour drive or less, which reduces the cost and environmental impact of transportation while supplying the market with super-fresh, sustainably raised local fish.”

Anchor project
“Humboldt County is a leader in the fisheries industry, and our community recognizes that it must continue to build on these strengths in order to achieve further economic success. This project fits well with that strategy,” said Scott Adair, director of economic development for Humboldt County. “Nordic Aquafarms is an innovator within their own industry. Their project will create an opportunity to improve local job quality and career potential, add to the overall vibrancy of the community and enhance the quality of life for our residents. We are very excited about the potential of this project,” he added.

According to Larry Oetker, executive director of the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District, the district has already permitted properties on the Samoa peninsula for aquaculture. “We have been looking for an anchor project that will be a catalyst for attracting and developing an aquaculture cluster,” said Oetker. “Nordic Aquafarms and California Marine Investments provide that, and we are pleased to be working with them get this project underway as soon as possible.”

Naess said the company has begun engaging in discussions about the project with local authorities and stakeholder groups and said that it looks forward to working closely with them as it moves forward.

The company aim to submit permit applications by spring 2020.