GIG HARBOR, Wash. -

A state Court of Appeals has ruled against a proposed Kitsap Peninsula geoduck farm, handing a citizens' group a key victory.

The court this week affirmed a decision by a state hearings board to deny an aquaculture permit for the 5-acre site along Henderson Bay near Gig Harbor.

The Kitsap Sun says the appeals court found the proposed farm would harm eelgrass, a fragile marine plant.



Olympia-based shellfish company Chelsea Farms had proposed installing about 56,000 plastic tubes planted with geoduck, a large clam that fetches high prices in Asia.

The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat, a citizens group, petitioned the Shorelines Hearings Board to intervene after Pierce County approved the farm's permit in 2013. The hearings board found that the buffers the county approved for the farm wouldn't adequately protect eelgrass.

Chelsea Farms President Kyle Lentz says his dad started the project 14 years ago and "no one would have predicted it would end this way."