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February 11, 2019

Nordic Aquafarms plans $400M aquaculture facility in California

Courtesy / SalmonBusiness
Courtesy / SalmonBusiness
Erik Heim, president of Nordic Aquafarms Inc., announced over the weekend that the company is planning to open a second land-based salmon aquaculture facility in the United States, a $400 million proposal to be located near Eureka, Calif.

Nordic Aquafarms, which is planning a land-based salmon aquaculture facility in Belfast, announced plans to open a second U.S.-based facility, this time in California.

According to its Feb. 9 news release, the company announced that a subsidiary, California Marine Investments, will today enter into an exclusive option agreement with the Humboldt Bay Harbor District to lease 30 acres on the Samoa peninsula near Eureka in Humboldt County.

The state-of-the-art fish farm represents a potential investment of $400 million and will create up to 80 new jobs. The facility will ultimately produce 55 million pounds and will be developed in a phased approach.

In the release, Nordic Aquafarms´ CEO Bernt-Olav Roettingsnes said the agreement is aligned with the company´s U.S. strategy of building its facilities close to the regional markets it plans to serve.

One year ago, Nordic Aquafarms announced plans to build a land-based salmon farm in Belfast to serve East Coast markets. That project is now in the permitting phase and plan 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 the release. "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."

Key infrastructure and permits are already in place.

Heim said the company is considering raising salmon or steelhead trout as options for the facility, which will use state-of-the-art recirculating aquaculture system, or RAS, technology.

Solar power will among other things be a part of the energy mix in California.

"We will now be situated on both coasts, which fits into our strategy of locating fish farms close to major regional markets," said Commercial Director Marianne Naess.

The Humboldt location is expected to reach more than 50 million people within a 12-hour drive or less. The company plans to submit permit applications by spring 2020.

Nordic Aquafarms announced in January 2018 its plans to build a land-based salmon farm in Belfast on 40 acres in two phases. Plans call for building a land-based salmon farm in two phases.

Phase 1 — an estimated $150 million investment involving a facility with a capacity of some 16,000 tons and the creation of 60 jobs — is currently being designed in Norway. Construction is expected to start in 2019, with operations expected to begin in 2020. The facility will be an end-to-end operation, including hatcheries and fish processing.

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