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Seafood processors settle with EPA over Clean Water Act violations

Cordova Times

Companies operating four seafood processing vessels in federal waters off the coast of Alaska have settled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for violations of the Clean Water Act, the EPA said this past week.

Jeff KenKnight, manager of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Compliance Unit of the EPA in Seattle, said Aleutian Spray Fisheries Inc., United States Seafoods LLC, and Ocean Peace Inc. agreed to settle in separate agreements and pay fines.

The vessels cited for failure to regulate their seafood waste discharges in compliance with the Clean Water Act permits are the F/V Siberian Sea and F/V US Liberator, Aleutian Spray Fisheries Inc.; the F/T Ocean Peace, Ocean Peace Inc.; and the F/T Ocean Alaska, United States Seafoods LLC.

The vessels involved were processing Pacific cod, Atka mackerel, fathead sole, Pacific Ocean perch, yellowfin sole and/or rock sole.

The fines agreed to include nearly $120,000 for Aleutian Spray Fisheries, $98,000 for Ocean Peace, and nearly $90,600 for United States Seafoods.

"These permits are intended to protect Alaska's marine habitat and species," KenKnight said. "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 negatives consequences."

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

Published with the permission of The Cordova Times.