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2002 News Releases


EPA, Trident Seafoods Agree on Remedy for Fish Waste Problems

Release Date: 11/21/2002
Contact Information: Robert Grandinetti
(206) 553-1283

November 21, 2002

Company to pay $96K for illegal ‘eruptions’ of putrid waste that fouled water, angered residents

The Northwest regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency today announced that Trident Seafoods of Seattle has agreed to end the company’s chronic discharges of seafood processing waste from its facilities in Ketchikan and Akutan Island in Alaska.

A series of illegal discharges of seafood processing wastes at Trident’s Ketchikan facility caused eruptions of waste from discharge areas on the ocean floor, sending large mats of decomposing fish waste up to the surface. The eruptions also emit large amounts of sulfur dioxide, greatly distressing residents of Ketchikan who smell the gas.

Trident’s Akutan Island facility also discharged seafood wastes and discharged pollutants, including seafood processing waste, wastewater, solids and residues to Akutan Harbor through an unauthorized outfall at the Akutan facility, in violation of the Clean Water Act.

Under terms of the agreement filed today in U.S. District Court in Anchorage the company agrees to:
  • send all seafood processing waste from the two facilities to a fish meal plant; barge the waste to an approved, at-sea disposal site; or use an EPA-approved, alternative disposal method for three years;
  • clean up the existing waste piles;
  • improve operations using better “best management practices,” and better inspections of the treatment process and discharge line;
  • prevent eruptions of the seafood waste piles;
  • complete a Supplemental Environmental Project (“SEP”) consisting of an economic analysis weighing the costs and benefits of using a fish meal plant versus the current “grind-and-discharge” treatment of seafood processing wastes; and
  • pay a $96,000 penalty.
The above-mentioned economic analysis will look at the costs of operating and maintaining the fish meal plant, any profits derived from the fish meal plant, projected future profits or losses, and a separate feasibility analysis of the long-term use of the fish meal plant for Trident and neighboring seafood processing facilities over at least a ten-year period in the Ketchikan area.

“While there is a punitive piece to this settlement,” said L. John Iani, EPA’s Regional Administrator in Seattle, “we at EPA think that the other requirements of this agreement will provide far more benefit to the environment than additional penalties ever could. We believe that this settlement will help lead the seafood industry into a new era of seafood waste disposal that will benefit the environment and industry.”