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Humboldt Planning Commission adopts Nordic Aquafarms Project

Nordic Aquafarms logo | Nordic Aquafarms
Nordic Aquafarms logo | Nordic Aquafarms
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The Humboldt County Planning Commission approved the highly-anticipated Samoa fish farm project with international company Nordic Aquafarms at Thursday night's Planning Commission meeting.

The project, officially proposed last week after the final environmental impact report was completed, has received a lot of public interest, with some residents very much opposed to the potential effects of the project and others excited for the economic opportunity.

Some of the most vocal stakeholders vocal stakeholders have included local environmental groups who proposed additional conditions of approval, most of which were added to the updated proposal. "This community's commitment to environmental causes and the analysis of scientific information has helped the Nordic team to create a stronger, more robust final EIR," Nordic Aquafarms Vice President Nick King said.

One of the main concerns for environmental groups like the North Coast chapter of the Surfrider Foundation has been the energy usage of the project and greenhouse gas emissions.

Nordic Aquafarms initially addressed this concern by committing to using 100% renewable energy from the very start of the project, and now, they must also submit a transportation management plan to reduce the number of single occupant commute vehicles going to the site each day, per one of the conditions of approval.

But that added condition isn't the only transportation-related concern that has been brought to Nordic Aquafarms. "The increase in traffic is not negligible. While the project clearly could have a lot of benefits for the county, these impacts to the people who live and recreate there really shouldn't be overlooked," Surfrider Plastic Pollution Initiative Senior Manager Jennifer Savage said.

Another concern that was addressed is the need for monitoring before and after the project begins. "The main thing that we were really advocating for was to make sure that the ocean outfall was monitored from the beginning and not later down the line," Savage said.

The updated proposal did include a condition of approval for this. "Before anything goes out of the pipe, they'll be out in the receiving waters and the Pacific Ocean doing monitoring," GHD Environmental Scientist and Planner Andrea Hilton said.

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The proposed plan was adopted by the commission unanimously. Now, Nordic Aquafarms will go before the California Coastal Commission and the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board for the next steps in the permitting process.

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