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EPA settles with four Alaska seafood processors for Clean Water Act violations

Release Date: 11/21/2012
Contact Information: Hanady Kader, EPA Public Affairs, 206-553-0454, kader.hanady@epa.gov

(Seattle—Nov 21, 2012) Four seafood processing vessels operating in federal waters off the coast of Alaska failed to comply with federal Clean Water Act permits regulating their seafood waste discharges, according to settlement agreements with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Aleutian Spray Fisheries, Inc., United States Seafoods, LLC and Ocean Peace Inc. agreed to settle the violations with the EPA in separate agreements and pay fines.

“These permits are intended to protect Alaska's marine habitat and species,” said Jeff KenKnight, manager of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Compliance Unit at the EPA in Seattle. “Companies processing seafood must all play by the same rules and comply with the permit conditions. In general, we find that seafood processing vessels are staying in compliance, but when they don’t, it can have negative consequences.”

The vessels discharge millions of pounds of seafood waste each year into the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska and North Pacific Ocean.

Vessels that process seafood and discharge waste into the ocean are required to ensure that the waste meets requirements set under a federal wastewater discharge permit. The permit, issued under the Clean Water Act, requires that seafood waste be ground to a maximum size of inch in order to increase dispersion of seafood waste solids into the ocean. This inch grind requirement was set specifically for remote areas of Alaska.

The vessels in violation were processing Pacific cod, Atka mackerel, flathead sole, Pacific Ocean perch, yellowfin sole and/or rock sole.

Aleutian Spray Fisheries, Inc.

EPA fined two vessels operated by Aleutian Spray Fisheries, Inc. for violations of permit conditions. EPA inspected the F/V Siberian Sea and F/V US Liberator in September of 2011. The inspections found that the company failed to report on the vessels’ operation and discharge and failed to keep records showing that the vessel operators regularly inspected the seafood waste treatment systems. The violations took place between 2007 and 2011.

The company agreed to pay a combined total of nearly $120,000 to settle the violations.

Ocean Peace, Inc.

An EPA inspection in December 2010 found that the F/T Ocean Peace failed to ensure the seafood waste met the inch grind requirement, failed to take samples of seafood waste, and failed to keep records showing that the vessel operators regularly inspected the seafood waste treatment systems. The violations took place between 2007 and 2010.

The company agreed to pay $98,000 to settle the violations.

United States Seafoods, LLC

An EPA inspection in September 2011 found that the F/T Ocean Alaska failed to meet permit conditions by keeping records showing that the vessel operators regularly inspected the seafood waste treatment systems. The violations took place between 2007 and 2011.

The company agreed to pay nearly $90,600 to settle the violations.

For more information on NPDES permits, visit: http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/WATER.NSF/NPDES+Permits/General+NPDES+Permits#Seafood%20Processing