Nordic's proposed California RAS will be on the Samoa Peninsula, close the the city of Eureka. Image: Nordic Aquafarms.

Nordic US subsidiary gets backed for California RAS

On-land fish farmer Nordic Aquafarms is to go ahead with plans for a salmon farm in California, it said today.

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Nordic said its board of directors had approved investment plans to complete permitting for a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility on the Samoa Peninsula in Humboldt County, following a “rigorous due diligence process”.

The California operation, which will produce around 25,000 tonnes of salmon annually, will be Nordic’s second proposed on-land salmon farm in the United States and the first commercial-scale RAS facility on the West Coast.

Nordic is already involved in the permitting process for a 33,000-tonne-per-year RAS salmon farm in Belfast, Maine. Both facilities will grow fish from egg to harvest and include facilities for primary processing and filleting.

Erik Heim: 50 million people within 12-hour drive.

Ideal development sites

“We are now proceeding on both US coastlines after having verified ideal development sites, competitive solutions for power and clean water access, and overall favourable conditions for development,” Erik Heim, president of Nordic’s US subsidiary, Nordic Aquafarms Inc, said in a press release.

“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 sustainably raised local fish.”

Marianne Naess, commercial director of Nordic Aquafarms Inc, said that as well as carrying out due diligence of all potential opportunities and risks related to building the Humboldt facility, the company had worked closely with local vendors to plan the permitting process.

Project director

“We are very satisfied with the results of the due diligence and we are now looking forward to starting the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) and permitting processes,” added Naess. “We are particularly thankful to the local authorities, the Harbor District, and the Humboldt community for their support along the way.”

Nordic said it would immediately start recruiting locally to support expansion of activities in Humboldt, beginning with both a project director and an engineering manager.

“We will continue with our extensive outreach in the community and permanently staff our office on Third Street in Eureka,” stated Nordic.

“Once local management is in place, we encourage residents to stop by the office to get acquainted with the project.”

Public meeting

Naess will also hold a public information meeting at the Wharfinger venue in the city of Eureka, which is joined to the Samoa Peninsula by a causeway, on November 14.

Permit applications are expected to be submitted in the summer of 2020.

Nordic already farms salmon in a RAS in Frederikstad in south eastern Norway and grows yellowtail kingfish in Denmark.