The community of Seaforth in Nova Scotia, Canada, is threatened by the development of a shellfish processing plant, which could potentially pollute the water at numerous prime surfing locations. The plant will be built only meters away from the beach and untreated effluent will be discharged directly into the ocean where a surf spot known as “Seals” is found. Many concerns have been raised by local residents on the impact this might have on the environment and on the surfers as the effluent will be discharged directly into the lineup. Access to the beach is also in jeopardy.
The landowner and developer, Murray Purcell of Searise Fisheries, claims that jobs will be created by the plant’s construction. Regardless, the site where the plant will be built is a wetland habitat for wildlife, requiring extensive work to stabilize the soil in order to put in a foundation for the building. It is not known if an environmental impact study has been done.
Local residents and surfers alike are opposed to a shellfish processing plant, or any industrial complex, in the heart of the Seaforth community. The area’s natural beauty has remained untouched for eons, generating sustainable tourism revenue (i.e. traveling surfers, ocean enthusiasts, birdwatchers, hikers etc.), which has been demonstrated by a panel of international experts who have stated that the value of the natural environment far exceeds the benefit of such a plant.
Shellfish processing plants can be very harmful to the environment. A study conducted by Shawn Duncan, researcher for Amec, an independent environmental consulting firm, shows that shellfish processing plants can produce a significant amount of waste causing negative effects on the environment. The report also mentions that current standards may be outdated and may not meet the requirements of the Environment Act.