Alaska seafood processors settle with EPA for Clean Water Act violations

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SEATTLE, WA, April 2, 2013 -- Two seafood processors operating in Alaskan waters failed to comply with Clean Water Act permits that regulate seafood waste discharges, according to settlement agreements with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Aleutian Leader Fisheries and Salamatof Seafoods agreed to settle the violations with EPA in separate agreements and pay fines.

"Clean Water Act permits protect Alaska's important marine habitat and the ocean food chain," said Jeff KenKnight, manager of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Compliance Unit at the EPA office in Seattle. "All seafood processors need to comply with permit requirements to level the playing field for businesses and ensure that everyone is doing their part to protect the environment."

The Clean Water Act requires vessels and shore-based seafood processing facilities to grind seafood waste to a maximum size of ½ inch in order to increase dispersion of solids into the ocean. This ½ inch grind requirement was created specifically to protect remote areas of Alaska.

Aleutian Leader Fisheries LLC

EPA inspected the vessel F/V Judi B and the company's office records in March 2012 and identified a series of permit violations, including failure to sample effluent for metals; failure to keep inspection logs of equipment and seafood waste size; failure to submit reports describing annual operations; and failure to develop a best management practices (BMP) plan that would be protective of the marine environment.

The F/V Judi B operates in the North Pacific Ocean and harvests pacific cod, sablefish, turbot, rockfish and skate.

The violations occurred between 2008 and 2011. The company agreed to pay $59,000 to settle the violations.

Salamatof Seafoods, Inc.

The Salamatof Seafoods shore-based facility is authorized to discharge seafood waste into the Kenai River. During a 2008 inspection, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation found that the facility had several violations of its permit including failure to monitor the seafloor in the area it discharges; failure to ensure the discharged seafood waste met minimal size requirements; and failure to repair an outfall in a timely manner.

In addition, the company failed to submit annual reports that inform agencies of the use and potential degradation of natural resources. EPA fined Salamatof Seafoods in 2008 for previously failing to file annual reports.

EPA relied on inspection reports from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to identify violations and reach a settlement.

The facility processes cod, halibut, rockfish and salmon. The violations occurred between 2008 and 2012. The company agreed to pay $45,000 to settle the violations.

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