No Atlantic Salmon Farm in Humboldt County: Demand an Environmental Analysis

No Atlantic Salmon Farm in Humboldt County: Demand an Environmental Analysis

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Save California Salmon ! started this petition to Humboldt County Planning and Building Department Humboldt County and

Nordic Aquafarms, a multi-national aquaculture corporation based in Norway, is proposing to develop 50+ acres of the Samoa Peninsula into a large land-based Atlantic salmon farm. The facility- which would be leased for 30 years- would produce up to 5 million fish per year in a RAS (Recirculating Aquaculture System) that would draw in water from Humboldt Bay and the Mad River, circulate the water through fish culture tanks, and discharge polluted water back into the Ocean. This facility would be located at sea-level, adjacent to Humboldt Bay, in a tsunami zone, and the site will see the impacts of sea level rise. 

Nordic is currently applying for a Clean Water Act discharge permit (NPDES permit) permit from Humboldt County, despite not having submitted a Disaster Preparedness Report and Action Plan, a Biological Assessment for effects to Endangered Species and Critical Habitat, or a Cumulative Impacts Analysis. The Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration did not include the full range of effects of the project and deferred mitigation to outside parties. This does not enable a full CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) public process, and avoids a NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) impact analysis. Any other project of this magnitude would be required to conduct a full environmental impact analysis. 

Please take action and ask that Humboldt County conducts a full environmental assessment of this proposal. North Coast communities deserve to know the impacts of this massive fish farm. 

Why should Nordic provide a full environmental assessment? 

  • Nordic proposes to withdraw 2 million gallons per day (MGD) of freshwater from the Mad River. If this level of withdrawal occurs during an extreme drought, river flows could be reduced by 30%. This level of withdrawal during an extreme drought is likely to result in death and injury to juvenile Chinook salmon and steelhead in a manner that has not been analyzed, addressed, or considered.
  • The facility would deposit 298 metric tons of Nitrogen compounds (NHx and NOx) per year into potential salmon rearing and migrating habitats and further contribute to the nitrification of Humboldt Bay.
  • Warm effluent would discharge into coastal waters near the entrance to Humboldt Bay and the Mad River estuary. Tidal influences conveying effluent into the Mad River and the Eel River have not been adequately considered. Project modeling demonstrates that effluent will enter Humboldt Bay.
  • The facility is energy-intensive and would contribute to a large percentage of Humboldt County’s CO2 emissions. The conservative electricity estimate provided by Nordic of 21.5 Megawatts is equivalent to building over 10,000 new homes in the Humboldt Bay area. Trucking the salt-laden sewage waste alone would generate 846 metric tons of CO2 per year.
  • Toxins in fish feed accumulate within farmed fish and the waters they are raised in. Toxins include bioaccumulative toxic substances (PBTSs), monomethyl mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s). In addition, Ethoxyquin, used to keep the fishmeal from exploding and rotting, is banned in the US, but may be used on ships conveying fishmeal from the Southern Hemisphere. These chemicals are known to damage DNA and organs and cause reproductive disorders. Antibiotic resistant bacteria are also common in aquaculture facilities and can leak into local waterways via effluent.
  • High-density animal farming often results in fish stress, disease, and mortality. The continuous circulation of water within the system can foster the growth and spread of pathogens. Thus far, Nordic claims not to have had a disease outbreak on one of their farms, but admits this is always a possibility.

Since the project would likely harm local fish populations and their habitats, take more water from the Mad River, and pollute waterways, these repercussions would disproportionately impact Indigenous communities whose subsistence, economies, and cultural practices are tied to the health of aquatic ecosystems. Consolidating food production within the hands of a multinational corporation is not what real sustainability or food security looks like- for Humboldt, the region, or California.

Humboldt County recently declared that the project would have no significant environmental impacts, despite not having conducted a full environmental impact report (EIR). We demand that the County conducts a more rigorous review. A full environmental impact report is necessary, and communities need time to review this full report BEFORE the project is approved. Humboldt County is currently receiving public comments on the proposed fish farm. 

Sign this petition to tell the Water Board and the County that the people of California do not want an environmentally dangerous factory farm on the North Coast. Signing this petition will send a public comment to the North Coast Water Board and Humboldt County. 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!