Canadian Town Plagued by Unbearable Smell of 17-Year-Old Seafood Sauce

For the past 17 years, the people of St. Mary’s, a small town in Canada’s Newfoundland, have had to put up with the pungent smell of fermented seafood sauce at an abandoned nearby factory. In the summer, the stench gets so bad that some residents bar their homes and leave to stay with their relative, because it’s so hard to breathe.

In 1990, a Vietnamese immigrant opened the Atlantic Seafood Sauce factory near St. Mary’s, with the goal of producing a kind of fermented seafood sauce that is very popular in Vietnamese cuisine. Things were off to a good start, but just 4 years down the line, the owner, a man named Sanh Go, started complaining that Canadian regulations were killing his business. In the year 2000, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspected the factory and concluded that the sauce was produced in unsanitary conditions. Two years later, the Atlantic Seafood Sauce factory closed for good, but its giant vats of fermenting fish parts and seafood sauce have remained there ever since, causing a big stink.

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