Computer-generated illustration shows how proposed project would look on the Samoa Peninsula. Image courtesy of Nordic Aquafarms.
Comments are due May 24 on the County’s review of the environmental impacts of Nordic AquaFarms’ proposed land-based fish factory. The project would involve redeveloping nearly 36 acres at the former pulp mill in Samoa to produce 73 million pounds of fish per year. Twelve million gallons of treated wastewater would be released into the ocean daily, 1.5-miles from shore. Most of that water would come from Humboldt Bay, with up to 3 million gallons/day coming from the Mad River through existing pipelines.
Humboldt Baykeeper, Surfrider Foundation, EPIC, the Northcoast Environmental Center, the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities and 350 Humboldt are teaming up to review and comment on the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration.
We need your help. Join us in calling on the County to prepare an Environmental Impact Report for the project and to incorporate more mitigation measures to reduce potential harm to ocean wildlife. Below are some talking points to help!
Environmental Impact Review is necessary. The project, one of the largest in recent memory, requires an environmental impact report. This kind of environmental analysis better allows for public participation in the decision making process and is likely to help reduce environmental impacts through better study. Included in this EIR should be a consideration of all components of the project, including water intake, which had been deferred to a separate, future review.
Additional mitigation measures to help reduce impacts. Additional mitigation measures for the project are reasonable and necessary.
Energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The project would require 21.5 MW—about 15% of the energy produced by the PG&E plant at King Salmon. A portion of this will be offset by solar panels, but we are calling on Nordic to formally commit to using 100% renewable energy.
Impacts on marine life from feed sources. Commercial fish feed contains meal and oil made from small fish like herring. Known as “forage fish,” they are a critical food source for wild fish and marine mammals. We want assurances that these forage fish will be harvested sustainably and that Nordic will try to reduce animal protein in their feedstock to the maximum extent feasible.
Impacts from new truck and car trips. The project will generate 95 additional truck trips per week, and 150 employees will commute to and from the site—all on roads with no active transportation infrastructure. We’re asking for Nordic to provide better bike and pedestrian facilities for Highway 255 and New Navy Base Road, a vanpool for employees at shift changes, and an adaptive management plan requiring adoption of zero emission trucks and other vehicles as they become commercially available.
Monitoring and adaptive management necessary to compensate for uncertainty of impacts. Nordic AquaFarms believes that the effluent released from the project will not result in any adverse effects to the environment. This may be true, but given the newness of the technology and the complexity of predicting impacts from new nutrient discharge, we believe that this project would be improved by monitoring and disclosure of actual effluent discharge and incorporation of objective adaptive management provisions if environmental impacts are worse than anticipated. Monitoring and adaptive management is a common feature in projects where uncertainty or controversy exists.
Submit your comments by May 24 to Planningclerk@co.humboldt.ca.us.
A County Planning Commission hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 3 at 6pm.
We’ll be submitting substantive comments, but your voice is important!