Nordic Aquafarms announces plans for RAS facility in California

Published on
February 11, 2019

Nordic Aquafarms announced on 9 February that the company is planning to build a second recirculating aquaculture system facility in the United States.

The new facility will be in Humboldt County, California, and has the potential to be a USD 400 million (EUR 354.9 million) investment, according to Nordic.

Nordic has already been working through the permitting process for the first phase of its USD 500 million (EUR 443 million) project in Belfast, Maine. That project, announced a year ago, is planned to start construction later this year. 

“As we did on the East Coast, we conducted a thorough search over the past few months to find the right location for our West Coast expansion,” Nordic Aquafarms U.S. President Erik Heim said in a release announcing the new project. “This site meets all of our criteria for building a safe, clean, and sustainable fish farm, and we have been welcomed by local authorities who are excited about the many benefits this project can bring to the area.”  

The California project will be built on a 30-acre plot on the Samoa peninsula, near the town of Eureka. The facility, when completed, will be the first land-based aquaculture facility on the West Coast of the U.S.

The new location offers access to both fresh and seawater, and already has a substation with power on site, Nordic said. Perhaps more importantly, the site has an established outfall pipe, and key aquaculture licenses already in place. Nordic has been going through a lengthy permitting process in Maine, and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection recently requested more information before it will issue a permit for outfall pipes. 

According to officials for the area, the Humboldt Bay area that the facility will be located in has been specifically targeted for aquaculture projects. 

“We have been looking for an anchor project that will be a catalyst for attracting and developing an aquaculture cluster,” Larry Oetker, executive director of the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District, said. “Nordic Aquafarms and California Marine Investments provide that, and we are pleased to be working with them get this project under way as soon as possible.” 

Prior to Nordic’s future use, the location was the site of a paper mill, Nordic Commercial Director Marianne Naess told SeafoodSource. 

“This location has had a paper mill before, and has gone through a clean-up by the EPA,” she said. “One of our key concerns looking at brownfield sites has been access to clean water, which is always our priority. At this site, the sea-water is drawn directly from a sea chest in the bay, and raw fresh water is from the Mad River through existing infrastructure.”

According to Naess, the search for the location has been going on for the last three months. The company had always planned on finding a second location on the West Coast, and the location on the Samoa peninsula meets the company’s needs. 

“This has always been a part of our strategy; to place our facilities close to the markets,” she said. “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 super-fresh, sustainably raised local fish.”

At peak output, the facility – which will produce either salmon or steelhead – will produce roughly 55 million pounds of fish a year. 

Photo courtesy of Google Maps

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