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Editor:

Working as an administrative officer for Eureka Natural Foods, I have always supported sustainable fishing practices and our local fishing fleet, where more than 200 commercial vessels list Eureka, California as their home port.

In 1989, the global fishing industry hit a high point when approximately 90 million metric tons of fish were taken from the ocean. Fishing yields have declined or stagnated ever since. Here in Humboldt County, the commercial salmon season has been closed two years in a row due to low population numbers.

Meanwhile, global seafood consumption has more than doubled in the past 50 years, putting stress on the sustainability of the fishing industry. As the demand for seafood continues to rise, the sustainability of wild fish stocks becomes an ever more pressing issue. Scientists have grimly predicted that if unsustainable fishing rates continue, many of the world's fisheries will eventually collapse.

In order to relieve pressure on depleted fish populations and help create a sustainable fishing industry, Eureka Natural Foods supports Nordic Aquafarms' proposal to build a land-based fish farm at the former Samoa pulp mill that would use a mixture of fresh and salt water to raise 27,000 metric tons of Atlantic Salmon. These fish would be raised without the need for excessive antibiotics and untreated waste discharge into the open ocean. Humboldt County has released the draft environmental impact report (EIR) for Nordic Aquafarms' proposed onshore fish farm and found no areas in which the proposed farm would have a significant impact on the local environment.

Sustainable, safe marine aquaculture is vital for supporting our nation's seafood production, rebuilding protected species and habitats, and enhancing coastal resilience. Aquaculture is one of the most resource-efficient ways to produce protein. It has helped improve nutrition and food security in many parts of the world. We believe it will be a safe, long-term sustainable environmental strategy and a huge support for our local economy.

Graigory Fillmore, Eureka

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