American Seafoods Co. and owners of its fish-processing vessels have been fined nearly $1 million by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for multiple violations of the Clean Water Act.
On Sept. 28, the companies were cited by the EPA for hundreds of violations, including discharging waste in the protected Heceta/Stonewall Banks complex along the Oregon coast, failure to monitor its discharges and missing or inaccurate information in required annual reports.
Ed Kowalski, director of EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division in Seattle, said that in amassing hundreds of violations from illegal discharges to sloppy and even non-existent record-keeping that American Seafoods had demonstrated a clear disregard for the fragile and valuable resources that sustain its business.
EPA noted that discharge of seafood processing waste in prohibited areas and within the 100-meter depth contour of Washington and Oregon exacerbates already existing low-oxygen conditions which negatively impact most fishes, crabs and other marine life.
American Seafoods Co. and the owners of its vessels stood out from the other Oregon and Washington offshore fish processors in the number and severity of violations, the EPA said. The vessels were identified as American Dynasty, American Triumph, Northern Eagle, Northern Jaeger and Ocean Rover.
An administrative order effective Aug. 17 requires that in addition to $999,000 in penalties that the companies conduct corporate-wide, systemic improvements to ensure compliance with permits issued. Under separate consent agreements, the companies are required to pay the total of $999,000 in penalties.