Environmental Policy News

EPA Penalizes American Seafoods Company Almost $1M for Clean Water Act Violations

The US Environmental Protection Agency penalized American Seafoods Company LLC of Seattle and the owners of its fish-processing vessels nearly $1 million for significant violations of the Clean Water Act committed while harvesting and processing fish in the Pacific Ocean off the Oregon and Washington coast.

EPA cited the companies 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.

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.

EPA evaluated the compliance of the Oregon and Washington seafood processing industry and found that American Seafoods Company and the owners of its vessels stood apart from the other Oregon and Washington offshore fish processors in the number and severity of violations. The vessels are the American Dynasty, American Triumph, Northern Eagle, Northern Jaeger, and Ocean Rover.

In an Administrative Order on Consent effective Aug. 17, EPA requires the companies to conduct corporate-wide, systemic improvements to ensure compliance with its permits. In separate Consent Agreements, EPA also requires the companies pay $999,000 in penalties.

“In amassing hundreds of violations from illegal discharges to sloppy and even non-existent record-keeping American Seafoods Company demonstrated a clear disregard for the fragile and valuable resources that sustain its business,” said Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division in Seattle. “When issuing a permit, EPA confers to the permit holder the responsibility to protect our nation’s resources. We expect the company-wide, systematic overhaul of its operations will re-focus American Seafoods Company on the true value of its permit, the importance of tracking compliance with the permit, and the resources that permit entrusts it with protecting.”

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