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. 
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..

Humboldt County released the draft environmental impact report (EIR) for Nordic Aquafarms’ proposed onshore fish farm on Samoa Peninsula Monday.
The behemoth report, 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.
The Humboldt County Planning and Building Department released a mitigated negative declaration for the project in April, but after public feedback calling for a deeper, more in-depth report, Nordic Aquafarms initiated an EIR.
Jennifer Kalt, director of Humboldt Baykeeper, a local environmental advocacy group, previously advocated for a full environmental impact report, rather than a mitigated negative declaration. She said she had not finished reading the enormous report when the Times-Standard reached out Monday, but that she was glad it happened.

Nordic AquaFarms is hosting a Community Town Hall via Zoom on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 6 pm to provide an update on changes to the land-based aquaculture facility proposed at the former pulp mill in Samoa. We know there have been many changes in response to various concerns raised during the Initial Study, but this is the first opportunity to hear specifics. Note that this is NOT part of the official County process - it's an informal way for the community to learn about the project and ask questions. The County's Draft Environmental Impact Report is expected to be released for public review and comment. 

Executives from Nordic Aquafarms were busy this week giving a series of tours out on the Samoa Peninsula, offering politicians, environmentalists, fishermen and others an up-close view of the dilapidated industrial site — home to the corroding remains of the Evergreen Pulp mill — where the company plans to build a large, land-based fish farm.

The draft environmental impact report for the project is still being prepared, so some of the details remain in flux. 

Jennifer Kalt, executive director of environmental nonprofit Humboldt Baykeeper, said her organization still has concerns about whether the project can be completed in a way that protects the ecosystems of Humboldt Bay and the nearby Pacific. But after touring the site on Wednesday, she said in a Facebook post that the project would include not only much-needed cleanup but also construction of a modern stormwater system. 

“As it stands today, every major rainstorm carries polluted runoff into the bay,” the post reads. “And the way our legal system works, it will stay that way until someone invests in the cleanup. Nordic estimates it will cost $10+ million to demolish and remove everything. Sure, the Harbor District can continue applying for EPA Brownfields grants, but at $250,000 apiece, it would take several lifetimes.”

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Local officials and community members joined Nordic Aquafarms representatives for a site tour of the proposed onshore fish farm at the defunct Samoa pulp mill facility Thursday. The Norway-based seafood company launched the tour series last week in an effort to address community concerns surrounding the project.

Earlier this year, Nordic agreed to pursue an environmental impact report for the project in response to calls for further environmental analysis. Although the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department had already released a mitigated negative declaration for the project, a coalition of environmental groups argued that the assessment didn’t go far enough, citing concerns of energy use, fish feed, fish waste disposal, water use and transportation impacts.

If all goes according to plan, Naess said the EIR will be out for public review in September. “Then it goes for a 45-day public comment period and then, of course, we will need to respond to everything,” she said. “Then hopefully we will receive the final approval. Depending on whether or not it’s appealed, the project would go before the Board of Supervisors.”

Those interested in scheduling a tour of the project site can contact local liaison Lynette Mullen via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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 The county released an initial study and mitigated negative declaration (MND) for the project earlier this year. The document was circulated between April and May and received 324 comments surrounding the aforementioned concerns in addition to impacts from greenhouse gas emissions from refrigerants and fluorinated gases, energy use and transportation impacts.

Byron Turner, senior planner with Eureka-based engineering firm LACO Associates, said it became clear that “a project of this complexity” would warrant an EIR “if for no other reason than to provide a pathway to respond to those comments.”

“There’s no requirement for response to comments in an (MND), so that was one of the main reasons why we shifted gears,” he said. “This is the first part of the EIR process; the scoping period where we inform the agencies and the public that we’re drafting this document and we’re listening to environmental concerns. This is the listening and information gathering stage of the process.” The notice of preparation for Nordic’s draft EIR will be available until July 6 for public comment. A copy of the document can be found at
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