Seafood waste. (Photo: Stockfile)
Seafood processors fined for violating Clean Water Act
Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 06:00 (GMT + 9)
Three seafood processors agreed to settle federal Clean Water Act violations for their vessels’ seafood waste discharges off Alaska’s coast with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and pay fines.
The companies in question are Aleutian Spray Fisheries, Inc, United States Seafoods, LLC and Ocean Peace Inc, and their vessels are responsible for releasing millions of lb of seafood waste into the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska and North Pacific Ocean every year.
“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.”
Vessels that process seafood and discharge waste in US federal waters must ensure that seafood waste be ground to a maximum size of 0.5 in to enhance dispersion of seafood waste solids into the ocean. The specific vessels that violated this requirement were processing Pacific cod, Atka mackerel, flathead sole, Pacific Ocean perch, yellowfin sole and/or rock sole.
EPA fined two of Aleutian Spray Fisheries, Inc’s vessels for violations of permit conditions. EPA inspections found that, between 2007 and 2011, the company had neglected to report on the ships’ operation and discharge and to keep records showing that the operators regularly inspected the seafood waste treatment systems.
Aleutian Spray will pay a combined total of nearly USD 120,000 to settle the violations.
In December 2010, an EPA inspection showed that between 2007 and 2010, a vessel owned by Ocean Peace, Inc did not ensure the seafood waste met the 0.5 in grind requirement, and failed to take samples of seafood waste and keep records showing that the vessel operators regularly inspected the waste treatment systems. The company will pay USD 98,000 to settle the violations.
Finally, in September 2011, An EPA inspection found that between 2007 and 2011, a vessel owned by United States Seafoods, LLC failed to meet permit conditions by keeping records showing regular inspections of the seafood waste treatment systems. The company agreed to pay nearly USD 90,600 to settle the violations.
By Natalia Real