General Operations / Facility Designback to top
Everything from eggs to harvest happens indoors at the Nordic Aquafarms facility. Fish swim in pipes from the hatchery/smolt facility to the grow-out buildings. When the fish grow and the stock is divided into more tanks, the fish are transferred through pipes within the buildings. Before harvest, the fish swim through underground pipes to the purge and processing facility where they are harvested and processed.
No. Nordic engaged renowned Tsunami expert Dr. Gary Chock to assess the site and make recommendations on how to build a safe, structurally sound and escape proof facility. Study results confirm that a 2,500 year tsunami event will not overtop or breach our fish tanks or result in the escape of any fish from the facility.
Nordic will be raising all fish inside buildings in closed tanks on land. Nordic uses recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) that treats water from the fish tanks so it can be reused within the tank. Nordic raises the fish in Sea Water in its grow-out tanks. This dramatically reduces the amount of freshwater required to produce salmon at the facility.
- All production takes place indoors.
- Water is recirculated and continuously treated to maintain good water quality for the fish.
- Water exchange is maintained through intake and discharge of moderate volumes of water per pound of fish.
- Feeding, light, water quality, and temperature are constantly monitored and optimized.
- Production staff have close contact and visualization of the fish to monitor health and welfare.
- Back-up systems ensure reliable operations.
While lights are used inside the facility to create a stable environment for our fish, the facility does not include windows or skylights that allow light to escape at night. Walking paths will be lit with downward facing lights for employee safety. Most entrances and walking paths are in between buildings.
Humboldt County is uniquely positioned with infrastructure necessary to support RAS and other aquaculture facilities – presenting an opportunity to grow this important industry cluster on the west coast.
The North Coast offers:
- Clean, abundant fresh and sea water
- An existing industrial water line that can deliver fresh water from the Mad River directly to the project site
- Existing sea water intakes (sea chests) that can be utilized to deliver sea water to the Nordic facility
- An existing outflow pipe that can be utilized to discharge filtered, disinfected effluent water into the ocean 1.5 miles off shore
- The community has a strong fisheries heritage, academic institutions and interest in environmentally responsible emerging technologies and innovation.
- California has a good reputation of quality, sustainability and food safety.
No. Fish tanks are clean and omit no odors. Waste products are stored indoors in sealed containers to prevent odors.
Nordic will encourage carpooling, cycling and bus transportation, and will seek to incorporate electric vehicle charging stations on-site and more to reduce traffic impacts. Shift work at the facility will allow for a stable bus route off and onto the peninsula increasing opportunities for the general public to utilize bus service to the peninsula.
Nordic operations will require less than 15 truck trips per day, which is less than 5% percent of current traffic and is not anticipated to impact the peninsula’s residents or recreational visitors.
Fish Related Questionsback to top
- Nordic plans to produce 25-27,000 metric tons of fish annually
- This is approximately 15 percent of the demand anticipated for the west coast by 2030
- Fish will be processed onsite into head-on-gutted (HOGs) fish and filets
- Fresh (not frozen) fish will be distributed to west coast markets
In addition to all the biosecurity measures in place to ensure that the facility remains disease free, all water leaving the fish production areas including floor drains and processing will undergo extensive treatment of ultrafiltration through 0.04 micron filters equivalent to 1.5748e-6 inches in size before passing through UV disinfection at 300mJ.
Nordic plans to target/displace existing consumption of Atlantic salmon on the West coast currently imported from overseas by airplanes and not compete with local fisherman. About 50% of salmon already consumed in California is imported Atlantic Salmon.
The Atlantic salmon used in Nordic’s facility are from breeding programs purposely designed to provide fish which thrive in a tank farming environment. No West Coast species of salmon has this level of domestication.
There exists decades of science on Atlantic salmon that allows us to understand specific nutritional and health requirements for farming this species. This does not exist for West coast species.
Nordic uses immunization through a vaccination program combined with veterinary monitoring and testing to ensure our fish are healthy without the need for employing antibiotics or medications.
Eggs are sourced from pathogen free broodstock, disinfected prior to entering the farm, and placed under quarantine until they pass a certified health inspection. Every cohort of fish is tested for all pathogens of concern before being released from quarantine.
Incoming water is filtered to such an extent that bacteria, pathogens, parasites, and viruses are removed; water is further sterilized using ultraviolet light before contact with fish.
An accredited veterinarian will work with us to check all fish in the facility on a regular basis and all staff will be trained in fish behavior and to rate appearance to identify any issues the moment they appear.
Bio-security measures prevent movement of pathogens onto the farm via people, feed, equipment, pests, or other vectors.
The facility is designed to be escape-proof.
- All fish are raised inside secure buildings
- Fish are never outside. They are moved through dedicated underground pipes preventing their escape as they move from one building to another
- The facility has numerous physical barriers specifically employed to prevent fish escapement
- The wastewater treatment facility is impassible by fish.
- All pipes for moving fish are contained on the farm and none terminate at the ocean or bay.
- Even a 2,500 Tsunami event will not over-top tanks
- Security measures to include 24/7 on site staffing, video surveillance, and key card access doors, prevent any manual (human) removal of fish from the facility
The nutritional requirements of the fish can be met with a broad range of ingredients that are derived from crops, agricultural byproduct, and sustainable fisheries. More innovative break-through ingredients include fermented single cell proteins, insect meals, and algae oils.
Currently, feed contains approximately 10-15% marine ingredients that are primarily sourced from fisheries processing byproduct such as heads, trimmings, and viscera with the rest coming from sustainably managed fisheries.
Feed manufacturing for aquaculture is an innovative, and sustainable-minded industry. Nordic will be working closely with the feed producers to refine our formulations that prioritize the inclusion of non-marine derived proteins sources.
Environmental Concernsback to top
No, the Bay is connected directly to the ocean. The sea chests are being refitted with modern screens. 1mm wedge wire screens will be installed to prevent fish from entrainment to the fullest extent possible with a large surface area to reduce the velocity of the water at the screens surface to prevent potential impingement. Periodic air burst will be used to keep the screens clean.
Nordic will withdraw 10 million gallons per day (MGD) of sea water. In comparison, more than 60 billion gallons per day (BGD) is exchanged per day with the daily tidal flows.
In addition to completing the EIR (Environmental Impact Report) under the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) process, Nordic will obtain several permits in order to build the facility in Humboldt.
The main permits are:
- Coastal Development Permit (CDP) from Humboldt County for development of the site within the Humboldt Bay Area Plan, Local Coastal Plan (LDP) jurisdiction
- Coastal Development Permit (CDP) from the California Coastal Commission for the discharge to comply with the Coastal Act
- National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit including compliance with the Water Code Section 13142.5(b) for water intake from Humboldt Bay
- Air quality permit from the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management
The Harbor District will also obtain permits for water intake from the Sea Chest from the California Coastal Commission.
No. The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District has carefully studied the water supply.
Approximately 2 million gallons of fresh water will be diverted from the Mad River using existing industrial infrastructure. This is approximately 6-7% of the previous water volume supplied to the pulp mills through the industrial water line when they were operational.
Humboldt County needs to generate additional industrial demand for fresh water or risks losing regional water rights when permits come up for renewal in 2029.
The Harbor District worked with the EPA to conduct initial site clean-up of most hazardous substances, including several million gallons of black liquors used in producing pulp.
Other debris had been left on site and now includes scrap metal, decaying buildings covered with lead, asbestos and other public hazards such as open pits and buildings with material falling off of them, and areas of contaminated soil.
Nordic will be responsible for the remaining clean-up of industrial debris and demolish abandoned buildings, addressing lead, asbestos and other hazardous materials remaining on-site. Nordic will also remove any potential contamination ensuring clean-up of the site and create a new, environmentally sustainable stormwater system that treats all the stormwater.
No. Nordic’s high-level filtering and disinfection means that discharge is essentially filtered water with traces of nutrients. More than 99% of phosphorus, biological oxygen demand (BOD) and total suspended solids (TSS) are removed before the effluent is discharged into the ocean. High discharge treatment ensures that there is no significant impact to the surrounding waters or marine life at the point of discharge.
RAS aquaculture has been endorsed by multiple agencies, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, The Atlantic Salmon Federation (wild salmon conservation), Nature Conservancy, Food and Water Watch, Global Aquaculture Alliance, Sierra Club, Wild Fish Conservancy and more.
Nordic uses Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) instead of net pens, flow-through raceways or ponds. Land-based RAS farming was developed to mitigate detrimental impacts of these other types of fish farming.
- Nordic cleans and reuses our production water. Others don’t.
- Nordic treats all water coming in and out of the farm for disease-causing pathogens.
- Nordic removes all solid waste from effluent and only discharges treated water.
- Nordic has extensive barriers to prevent fish escape.
- Nordic does not need medication and pesticides to treat parasites such as sea lice as they cannot enter the farm due to our extensive filtration and water treatment before the water enters the farm.
Economic Impact and Employmentback to top
Nordic is using Gilbane for construction management and general contractor. However, Nordic will prioritize and optimize opportunities for local contractors by creating smaller bid-packages and sub-contracts.
The Nordic project is expected to create approximately 250-300 jobs annually during the multi-year construction period.
Nordic is producing Atlantic Salmon, not west coast species that are commercially fished.
Nordic wants to replace farmed salmon currently imported via airfreight over 5,000 to 7,000 miles to reach the shelves on the west coast with a fresh, locally grown product.
Nordic plans to hire as much qualified workforce as possible from the local area.
Nordic expects to offer about 150 full-time jobs with benefits when the facility is fully built out. In addition, there will be many indirect jobs generated in support of the facility (truck drivers, food service, etc.)
Nordic expects approximately 250-300 construction jobs during the demolition and construction period.
Nordic is working closely with College of the Redwoods to revitalize their aquaculture program and with HSU to ensure a steady pipeline of LOCAL qualified professionals. The average age of employees at Nordic’s Norwegian facility is 31 with a near 1 to 1 ratio male to female employees.
Nordic is also working with Humboldt County Office of Education to introduce information to students about careers in aquaculture, support in-classroom educational programs and more.
Business Development – The project will create many ancillary business opportunities for local entrepreneurs.
Property Tax increases – Site improvements, a subsequent increase in property value and property tax will increase county revenue. Estimated tax revenue will be based on the valuation of the facility through an appraisal process.
Increased local spending – Wages, ancillary spending will result in millions of additional dollars infused into the local economy and local spending on supplies and services will increase during Nordic’s multi-year construction phase. The Consulting company Implan estimated for Humboldt County that the impact of direct, indirect and induced labor impact (value stemming from the spending of labor income) would be approx. 48 million annually.
Catalyst for additional development and improvement – The County has established an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District (EIFD), which will support additional infrastructure enhancement on the peninsula, further increasing business development opportunities.
Community Engagementback to top
Nordic has engaged in informal communication w/ tribal representatives since March 2019.
Archaeologist James Roscoe of Roscoe and Associates worked closely with Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs) to complete a thorough Culture Resources Report. The final report is confidential and is not disseminated to the public.
Nordic has conducted regular outreach with tribal leadership and membership during the permitting process and continues to communicate with them to keep them updated on the process.
Nordic has offered to engage a cultural resources monitor when appropriate during project construction.
The Nordic team has gone to great lengths to be transparent, inclusive and comprehensive in their research and sharing results throughout the public process. Nordic has a community liaison specifically to help communicate with and educate the public about the project, Lynette Mullen who can be reached at email@example.com.
Nordic has shared study findings with Baykeeper, EPIC, NCEC, The Salmonid Restoration Federation, Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association and more as requested.
Nordic has conducted multiple public information meetings, been meeting with all interested stakeholder groups and local residents and held numerous presentations for local groups. In addition, Nordic has held in-person/digital office hours every week to answer questions from local residents.