Agriculture

Monday, February 11, 2019

Harbor District Approves Lease for Massive Fish Farm

Posted By on Mon, Feb 11, 2019 at 8:29 PM

Fourth District Supervisor Virginia Bass speaks at the crowded hearing. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Fourth District Supervisor Virginia Bass speaks at the crowded hearing.
The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District today approved a 30-year lease with Norwegian company Nordic Aquafarms to build a massive fish farm at the former pulp mill after hearing concerns the deal was ushered through without public review.

The plan is to build a land-based aquaculture facility that would eventually produce some 25,000 tons of fish a year – likely salmon or steelhead – to serve as the West Coast hub for Nordic Aquafarms, which is currently in the process of developing an East Coast equivalent in Belfast, Maine.

The agreement comes with two automatic 10-year renewals but also includes a three-year option, or “planning period,” during which the company will be pursuing the necessary permits before the full lease would go into effect.

During that time, Nordic will pay the harbor district $20,000 a year. The rent will increase to $159,128 annually after the three-year mark. Included in the terms is the right for the company to discharge 6 million gallons of wastewater per day using the site’s ocean outfall pipe, which extends 1.5 miles offshore.

Nordic would also pay a $500,000 fee to access the district’s electric substation.

The facility will use a recirculating aquaculture system, or RAS, which utilizes large tanks and water treatment systems, a method the company says prevents many of the common issues associated with raising fish in offshore pens, including pollution from waste, chemical use and the potential to pass on diseases and parasites to wild fish.

Read previous Journal coverage of the fish farm proposal here.

Nordic Aquafarms Concept from Netron on Vimeo.


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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Massive Fish Farm Proposed for Pulp Mill Site (Video)

Posted By on Sun, Feb 10, 2019 at 1:40 PM

A rendering of the Belfast, Maine, facility. - NORDIC AQUAFARMS
  • Nordic Aquafarms
  • A rendering of the Belfast, Maine, facility.
The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District and Norwegian company Nordic Aquafarms are set to formally sign a lease Monday for the development of a massive fish farm at the former Samoa Pulp Mill.

According to the harbor district, the project will include “the removal of all remaining deteriorating buildings and unutilized infrastructure” at the 30-acre property, which was the site of a multi-agency clean-up effort in 2014 to avert a looming catastrophic environmental disaster on the edge of Humboldt Bay.

Read previous Journal coverage about the removal of nearly 3 million gallons of caustic pulping liquors abandoned in failing storage tanks by Evergreen Pulp here, here and here.

The proposed project is forecast to “result in the investment of hundreds of millions dollars in the local economy,” the harbor district’s release states.

According to a report in seafood business publication Undercurrent, the project “represents a potential $400 million investment,” bringing around 80 jobs. Eventually, the article states, plans are to produce some 25,000 tons of fish a year at the facility.

In a Facebook post linking to the article, harbor district Commissioner Richard Marks described the fish farm as a nearly half-billion-dollar project, writing that “new construction will bring many hardhats to the area and then many high end Fishery jobs for biologists form Humboldt State.”

A land-based aquaculture facility – likely producing salmon or steelhead – the venture will serve as the West Coast base of operations for Nordic Aquafarms, which is currently in the process of developing an East Coast equivalent in Belfast, Maine, according to the company.

The facility will use what is known as recirculating aquaculture system, or RAS, which utilizes large tanks and water treatment systems in raising the fish. The company says the method prevents many of the common concerns associated with farm fishing in offshore pens, including pollution from waste, chemical use and the potential to pass on diseases and parasites to wild fish.

Nordic Aquafarms Concept from Netron on Vimeo.

“We will now be situated on both coasts, which fits into our strategy of locating fish farms close to major regional markets,” said Marianne Naess, Nordic’s commercial director, in a release. “The Humboldt location will enable us to reach more than 50 million people within a 12-hour drive or less, which reduces the cost and environmental impact of transportation while supplying the market with super-fresh, sustainably raised local fish.”


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Friday, August 17, 2018

Judge Finds Animal Cruelty Case Against Rancher Can Proceed to Trial

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 12:45 PM

Ray Christie - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • Ray Christie
A Humboldt County Superior Court judge has ruled there is enough evidence for local rancher Raymond Christie to stand trial on charges related to his treatment of animals and the disposal of dead livestock at properties across the region.

According to a Times-Standard report, Judge Kaleb Cockrum held Christine to answer Thursday to three felony charges of animal cruelty and 47 misdemeanors related to large amounts of cattle carcasses dumped near state waterways, including sloughs in Trinidad and Arcata.

Cockrum’s decision came after a three-day preliminary hearing with witnesses, including law enforcement officers and a state environmental specialist.

Christie was arrested March 19 after what the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office described at the time as a “long-term investigation” initiated by "ongoing complaints" of animal cruelty and reports of dead animals being improperly disposed of near or in waterways.

Christie has pleaded not guilty in the case and will be rearraigned on the current charges Aug. 30, the T-S story states.
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Friday, July 13, 2018

New Ban on Unsafe Target Shooting Approved by Supervisors

Posted By on Fri, Jul 13, 2018 at 4:23 PM

The Alexandre family and employees pose next to their K-rails at Fernbridge. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • The Alexandre family and employees pose next to their K-rails at Fernbridge.
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors took what some might consider a long-overdue action Tuesday on the issue of shooting on unincorporated land, unanimously voting in favor of a county ordinance that would prohibit target shooting in any area that does not meet standards for safe shooting. Those standards require a 20-foot birm of packed earth behind the target area.

Stray bullets have been a subject of concern for several years, especially on the Ferndale riverbar, where target shooting along the Eel River has endangered people, animals and property. The issue gained new scrutiny in 2016, when the Alexandre family, which owns property adjacent the the riverbar near Fernbridge, blocked access to drivers using K-rails, which remain in place today. At the time the Alexandres and their neighbors, the Vevodas, complained of bullets whizzing past their heads when they worked in the fields near Fernbridge.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Arcata Rancher Charged on 35 Counts Related to Animal Cruelty Investigation

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 12:40 PM

da.png
UPDATE: According to Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada, at this morning’s arraignment on animal cruelty charges Raymond Christie waived his right to have a preliminary hearing within 60 days. A court date has been set for Aug. 14 and Christie is not currently in custody. The district attorney is filing a motion to increase bail, which should be heard sometime next week, according to Kamada.

PREVIOUSLY:

Raymond Christie, the Arcata rancher arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty on Mar. 19, has been formally charged by the Humboldt County District Attorney's office on 35 counts, mostly related to animal cruelty and neglect.

Included in the charges are seven counts of felony cruelty by "failing to provide sustenance, drink, shelter or subject any animal to needless suffering" to cattle, a goat and a pig across different Christie-owned properties in Orick, McKinleyville, Trinidad, Arcata and Eureka.

The remaining 28 charges are misdemeanors under California Fish and Game Code 5652(a) related to disposal of litter or carcasses "within 150 feet of a state waterway." Christie is charged with disposing multiple cattle carcasses near waterways on most of his properties. The complaint specifies that more than 200 cattle carcasses were dumped near waterways on his Jackson Ranch Road property in Arcata.

In March, the sheriff's office confirmed to the Journal that Christie had returned to the Humboldt County Auction and picked up more cattle after leaving jail. HCSO spokesperson Samantha Karges explained to the Journal that Christie had bid on the cattle prior to being arrested and — once he posted bail — he was able to pay for the animals.

If Christie is found guilty in the present case, the court will have the opportunity to mandate whether he can purchase or keep animals in the future, according to Karges.

According to Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada, if Christie is convicted of animal cruelty, the law allows for a person to be prohibited from "owning, possessing or having custody or control of any animals for a period of five years."

"Prior to a conviction, there are legal procedures that could allow authorities to seize a specific, individual animal from a person, albeit temporarily," Kamada told the Journal.

A felony conviction would also prohibit Christie from owning or purchasing firearms.

Christie's arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday, June 19.
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Monday, March 19, 2018

UPDATE: HCSO Serves Warrants on Multiple Properties in Animal Abuse Investigation

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2018 at 2:21 PM

2nd UPDATE:

On Mar. 22 The Humboldt-Del Norte County Cattlemen's Association sent out a press release rebuking Christie, calling the scene "horrific and disturbing" and saying the Christie was not a member of their association.

UPDATE:
Ray Christie - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • Ray Christie
A press release sent out this morning by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Raymond Frank Christie was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty, causing an animal to be cruelly killed, failure to provide proper care to an animal and disposal of a carcass within 150 feet of a state waterway. According to a Humboldt County Sheriff's Office spokesperson, officers served warrants yesterday on four properties across northern Humboldt associated with Christie.

Descriptions of what officers found on Christie's property are grisly, with the HCSO stating observations “validated community complaints that serious violations were taking place.”


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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Locally Delicious Guidebook Drops

Posted By on Thu, May 11, 2017 at 4:55 PM

LOCAL FOOD GUIDE COVER
  • Local Food Guide cover

The mantra of "eat local," isn’t just hipster folly — it's a critically important act of resistance against the corporate takeover of our diets, our bodies and our health. A dollar spent on local, sustainably grown food supports family-owned farms, reduces petrol dependency, can reduce the chemical contamination of your food and reinvests your money in the North Coast economy. Still, whether it’s fighting the convenience of living five minutes from Safeway or not finding cash in the budget for the farmer’s market, the challenge of eating local is real.


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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Food Sovereignty, Tribal Sovereignty

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 5:00 PM

Potawot Community Garden farm stand. - COURTESY OF POTAWOT COMMUNITY GARDEN, UIHS
  • Courtesy of Potawot Community Garden, UIHS
  • Potawot Community Garden farm stand.
When the Northern California Tribal Courts Coalition (NCTCC) was awarded a grant to improve tribal health last year, it didn’t hesitate in identifying food as the keystone. Spearheaded by Program Director Cynthia Boshell, NCTCC will roll out its first Tribal Youth Food Sovereignty Camps later this month. The all-day camps will consist of hands-on education, discussion and participation in growing and cooking native foods. In order to serve youth on the coast and inland, the camp will be repeated on consecutive days: Wednesday, Feb. 22 in Potawot; Thursday, Feb. 23 in Klamath and Friday, Feb. 24 in Orleans.

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Friday, November 20, 2015

GMO Salmon Spawns Huffman's Ire

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 11:30 AM

THINKSTOCK
  • Thinkstock
Congressman Jared Huffman is not having the fish. According to a press release, Huffman is "deeply concerned" about the Food and Drug Administration's approval of genetically engineered salmon. He cites the engineered salmon's potential to damage wild salmon populations, ecosystems and the fishing industry, as well as the lack of labeling requirements for producers. The congressman is co-sponsoring legislation to ban GE fish.


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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Humboldt County Releases a Draft Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2015 at 11:24 AM

GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
Just weeks after the board of supervisors agreed to take on the creation of an outdoor medical marijuana cultivation ordinance, county staff has released a detailed draft ordinance that would create a strict permitting plan for the county's cannabis cultivators.

It’s a remarkably fast turnaround for a staff that shared concerns that it would be able to get a law on the books by next year when California Cannabis Voice Humboldt handed its draft ordinance over to the county on Sept. 15. During that board meeting, CCVH treasurer Luke Bruner urged the county to take action to regulate outdoor cannabis grows, while saying his organization would relinquish its year-long, multi-draft attempt to create a law — which at one point CCVH said it would put before voters if the county didn’t approve it.


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