Nordic's California RAS is planned for a site on the Samoa Peninsula in the north of the state.

Nordic Aquafarms wins ‘final major permit’ for California kingfish RAS

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Nordic Aquafarms, which plans a land-based fish farm in northern California, said today that the California Coastal Commission had given a “Notice of Intent to Issue” the project’s final major permit.

“The outfall CDP, or Coastal Development Permit will contain further special conditions, but this landmark achievement marks a significant milestone in the company’s journey to establish the first-of-its-kind aquaculture facility in the region,” said Norwegian-owned Nordic.

It is still engaged in the permitting process for the intake of the recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility and expects that to be completed next year.

Switched fish

The company originally planned to build a 33,000-tonnes-per-year Atlantic salmon on the site of a former pulp mill on Samoa Peninsula in Eureka, Humboldt County, but downsized the project in April and switched species to yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi). It is planning for a production capacity of 3,000 tonnes in Phase 1 with a potential production of 15,000 tonnes at full build out.

Nordic’s Norwegian parent company already operates two kingfish RAS facilities in Denmark and has swapped its Fredrikstad Seafood RAS in Norway from salmon to kingfish.

Brenda Chandler: "Together we simply made this a better project all around."

Nordic said the Samoa Peninsula pulp mill site had been “meticulously re-envisioned” by the landowner, the Harbour District, as an aquaculture innovation centre that will contribute to the environmental restoration of an underutilised industrial area.

Stakeholder engagement

The company said it acknowledges and appreciates the support and collaboration from various stakeholders, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

“We are extremely proud of the engagement and collaboration with NGOs, local and state governments, and our many steadfast community members. Together we simply made this a better project all around,” said Brenda Chandler, chief executive of Nordic’s US division.

Nordic also has plans for a 33,000-tonnes-per-year RAS salmon farm in Belfast, Maine, on the eastern seaboard of the US, but that project suffered a significant setback in February when the state’s Supreme Court ruled that intertidal land required for the laying of inlet and outlet pipes between the farm site and the sea belongs to homeowners who have sided with opponents of the project.