The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency penalized the company and its fish-processing vessel owners nearly $1 million for violations of the Clean Water Act.
According to a press release, the EPA has fined American Seafoods Company and the owners of its fish-processing vessels for these violations which occurred off the coasts of Washington and Oregon.
The EPA says the companies violated hundreds of rules. The most egregious of which was discharging waste in the protected Heceta/Stonewall Banks complex along the Oregon coast. The company also failure to monitor its discharges and was missing or had inaccurate information in required annual reports.
In the press release, the EPA explained why the actions taken by the company negatively impact the environment…”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.”
An Administrative Order Means Big Fines for Offenders
Additionally, the EPA evaluated the compliance of the seafood industry in these states and found that American Seafoods Company, and the owners of its vessels, stood out from other offshore fish processors due to the frequency and severity of its violations. Per regulations, the EPA issued an “Administrative Order on Consent” over a month ago which requires companies to conduct corporate-wide improvements to ensure businesses are complying with their permits. The EPA also requires those companies to pay $999,000 in penalties in separate Consent Agreements if the order is violated.
Also laid out in the press release from EPA was their concern over the level of these violations. Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division in Seattle, said in the release, “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… We expect the company-wide, systematic overhaul of its operations will re-focus American Seafoods Company on the true value of its permit…”