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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