(The Center Square) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency penalized a company and its fish-processing vessel owners nearly $1 million for violations of the Clean Water Act committed while harvesting and processing fish in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Oregon and Washington.
The EPA fined American Seafoods Company and the owners of its fish-processing vessels for these violations, according to a press release from the EPA.
The EPA said the companies violated hundreds of rules, 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,” according to the 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,” the EPA said.
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.
The vessels include the American Dynasty, American Triumph, Northern Eagle, Northern Jaeger, and Ocean Rover.
An Administrative Order on Consent issued by the EPA last month requires companies to conduct corporate-wide, systemic improvements to make sure businesses are complying with permits.
Additionally, the EPA is requiring the companies to pay $999,000 in penalties in separate Consent Agreements.
“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,” Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division in Seattle, said in the release. “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.”