Nordic Aquafarms California hopes to eventually produce 15,000 tonnes of kingfish per year in Humboldt County.

California kingfish RAS will be fully permitted by 2024 says developer

Nordic Aquafarms buoyed by latest permit approval


Nordic Aquafarms California, which plans a land-based yellowtail kingfish farm on the site of a former pulp mill on the Samoa Peninsula, Humboldt County in the north of the state, is a step closer to its goal after receiving its fifth permit.

The North Coast Regional Water Quality Board last week voted 4-0 to adopt the NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) order awarding the permit for wastewater discharge for Nordic and its project partner, the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District.

Nordic, which said it is dedicated to fulfilling the conditions of the order which include extensive water monitoring, requires two further permits.

The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District is pursuing its own permits needed for the development of the Aquaculture Business Park that Nordic’s recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility will be part of.

Positive momentum

“We are hoping to be in front of the Coastal Commission this November and continue the positive momentum,” said Brenda Chandler, chief executive of Nordic Aquafarms California and Nordic Aquafarms Inc.

“This summer Nordic’s application had also been approved by the CDFW (California Department of Fish and Wildlife) to raise yellowtail kingfish and with each successful step, we look forward to beginning construction and becoming operational.”

A spokesperson for Nordic told Fish Farming Expert that the company expects to be fully permitted in 2024. 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.

Salmon to yellowtail

Nordic Aquafarms originally proposed to build a 33,000-tonnes-per-year RAS salmon farm on the site, but pivoted to kingfish (Seriola lalandi) in April and downsized the project.

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.

The company still plans a 33,000-tonne RAS salmon farm in Belfast, Maine, but has 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.