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N.B. seafood waste plant not a farm operation, board rules

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Coastal Shell Products – a Richibucto, N.B., shell-drying company heavily criticized by residents for its smell – does not qualify as a farm operation, according to a Farm Practices Review Board hearing at a Fredericton court on Tuesday.

The decision allows the Kent Clean Air Action Committee — which has sought to shut down the plant for years due to the strong odours it emits – to take the matter back to court.

“I think that we needed a win as a community,” said Maisie Rae McNaughton, a member of the committee. “We went in knowing that they were not an agricultural operation and we came out with the knowledge that other people knew that as well.”

Last fall Coastal Shell Products engaged a third-party consultant to conduct a pilot study on odour control equipment for the facility.

“We will now be seeking a full injunction to shut the plant down based upon the havoc in the community that it has created in the last several years and, barring some miraculous filtration, it’s very unlikely that a lot is going to change up there,” said Michael B. Murphy, lawyer for the committee.

In a written statement, Coastal Shell Products said they are disappointed in the ruling, but they fully accept it, noting they did not ask for a ruling from the Farm Practices Review Board on this matter.

“Coastal Shell remains committed to addressing the public concerns and to implementing a solution to the odour challenges raised by local residents,” the statement reads. “Independent testing has confirmed the planned mitigation will result in significant odour reduction.

“Today, 11 processing facilities rely on Coastal Shell’s acceptance of the shellfish industry’s processing waste. Without this option the industry would be hard-pressed to be able to find a suitable location for processing this by-product. In addition, the ability to value-add this waste product and divert it from landfill has long-term benefits to our environment.”

-With files from CTV' Atlantic's Derek Haggett

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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