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Nordic Aquafarms receives state permits in Maine

California project also reaches milestone

November 20, 2020  By  Mari-Len De Guzman

A digital rendering of Nordic Aquafarms’ planned RAS facility in Belfast, Maine. (Image: Nordic Aquafarms)

Nordic Aquafarms has made significant headway on its plans to build large-scale land-based salmon production facilities in Maine and California in the United States, with both  reaching some major milestones on the projects.

The Maine Board of Environmental Protection has voted unanimously on Nov. 19 to approve Nordic Aquafarms´ state permits, which include permits for the National Resources Protection Act (NRPA), Site Location Development Act (SLODA), Maine Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (MEPDES) and minor air emissions permit.

In California, the salmon producer has also submitted the coastal development permit application and the initial study for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to Humboldt County, where Nordic Aquafarms plans to build its second U.S. land-based facility. These submissions were in addition to applications already submitted to the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the California Coasta Commission for national pollutant discharge elimination system permit and coastal development permit, respectively.


In a statement, Nordic Aquafarms president Erik Heim thanked the Board of Environmental Protection and the Department of Environmental Protection for the approval.

“Nordic Aquafarms is comfortable with the permit conditions that have been included in the permits. Permitting RAS Aquaculture facilities of this scale is uncharted territory in Maine and Nordic Aquafarms strongly believes that strict regulations and conditions will ensure that land-based aquaculture can be safely developed in Maine both now and in the future. The BEP has set a precedent that will ensure that the Maine seafood industry will continue to represent the highest quality in the market,” Heim said.

Over the last year-and-a-half Nordic Aquafarms has gone through a thorough permit application process. Following the approval of these state permits, the company expect the city and federal permits “to be resolved shortly,” noting that it has a strong case in the legal intertidal dispute.

“We are looking forward to conclusions on the outstanding issues and are ready to move forward with construction as soon as we are comfortable with the way forward” said Marianne Naess, external vice-president, commercial for Nordic Aquafarms.

In Humboldt County, the last permit application for the development of the site were submitted on November 18th, 2020. Naess said her company has worked closely with local and national vendors to develop the permit applicatons, and was able to reach this milestone on schedule despite the challenges of the global pandemic.

Nordic is also very encouraged by the engagement in the community and is especially satisfied with the collaboration on workforce development with College of the Redwoods. “One of the reasons we chose Humboldt is the great community for future employees to live and work. With institutions like HSU and CR and their academic programs, we are confident that we will find most of our future employees in Humboldt,” Naess said.

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