Last week Nordic Aquafarms made the decision to pursue final due diligence for a land-based fish farm on the Samoa Peninsula in Humboldt by signing a lease-option agreement with the Harbor District in Humboldt.
If our due diligence and permitting goes as we hope, this project will bring major investments, good paying jobs, tax revenue, and many business opportunities for local businesses in the area. Our assessments so far strongly indicate that this location is perfect for our land-based fish operation.
Land-based fish farming is an unfamiliar concept for many people in California, and we understand that there is a need to provide as much information as possible.
To sum up, we are producing fish in indoor facilities with a series of independent tank systems. The benefit of our design is that the risk of fish escape is eliminated.
Discharge of nutrients is dramatically reduced, and the nutrients are recycled for other uses. We remove the hosts for sea lice and other parasites out of the ocean, thus we do not impact wild salmon populations.
For these and other reasons, a number of respectable environmental organizations such as the Atlantic Salmon Federation, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and Conservation Law Foundation have written letters of support for our similar project in Maine.
We produce a natural product – there are no additives, GMOs, growth hormones or antibiotics in our daily production. The fish exercise 24/7 in the current in our tanks. Thus, there are many benefits with regards to fish welfare and final product quality. The final choice of species to be produced is subject to further assessments in California.
As the citizens of Humboldt will experience, our company works hard to address questions, concerns and local opportunities for sustainable economic development.
We are long-term in our thinking and we want to be a net positive contributor in the communities we become a part of. This includes workforce development and working collaboratively with local citizen groups to find mutual benefits going forward.
Engaging with the community is an integral part of our learning process aimed at tailoring our development to the community. We put a high value on local knowledge. We will be present locally on a regular basis and provide regular information through newsletters, our local Facebook-page – “Nordic Aquafarms Humboldt” and through our community liaison, Lynette Mullen.
This project has been designated as an anchor project at the peninsula that will attract other businesses to the area. An aquaculture cluster will contribute to a diverse and robust seafood industry in Humboldt.
We also see potential synergies and opportunities for cooperation with the existing seafood industry. Our strategy is to provide an alternative to seafood imports to the region, not to compete with existing hard-working businesses.
In Norway, where our company originated, strong wild-catch and fish farming industries operate side-by-side, both with great success.
With two facilities in operation in Denmark, and a third going on-line in Norway these days, Nordic Aquafarms is in a unique position to scale up in the U.S., based on our experience and growing team of experts. We already have eight employees in the US, in addition to our organization in Europe.
The U.S. organization is set to grow quickly in the coming years. With a strong shareholder base and a significant capital market for seafood in Norway, Nordic Aquafarms is poised to make responsible investments in Humboldt in the coming years.
Keeping in mind that the U.S. imports over 90 percent of its seafood and that the U.S. seafood market is growing 7 to 8 percent annually, there is a need to create new sustainable food systems for the future as additions to the wild catch industry.
Americans are increasingly making healthy food choices, and seafood is one of the healthiest protein sources available. We look forward to crafting sustainable choices for U.S. consumers and the environment in Humboldt.
Erik Heim is president of Nordic Aquafarms, Inc.