The EPA has fined a seafood company nearly $1 million for water pollution near the Oregon and Washington coasts.
American Seafoods was charged with hundreds of violations of the Clean Water Act, including discharging waste in a protected area near Newport.
“This particular company and these vessels stood out in terms of the number of violations and the nature of the violations,” said Patrick Johnson, an attorney with the EPA.
According to the EPA, biological waste can reduce the oxygen in seawater as it breaks down, harming marine wildlife.
“These are particularly egregious violations because they occurred in areas that have existing low oxygen conditions,” said Johnson.
The EPA also accused American Seafoods of failing to monitor its waste and provide accurate reports. The company was only permitted to discharge waste at some locations.
According to EPA Compliance Officer Chris Gebhardt, the company should have been familiar with regulations like these.
“The framework is very similar to the permit up in Alaska that American Seafoods has been following for decades,” said Gebhardt. “They should not have been a stranger to most of the provisions of the permit.”
A spokesperson for American Seafoods downplayed the violations as a “paperwork issue,” and said the company has designated more staff to ensure compliance in the future.
“The cooperative process with EPA has improved understanding and communication between the parties,” the company wrote. “American Seafoods will continue to work cooperatively with the EPA to ensure ongoing compliance.”
American Seafoods must adjust policies that the EPA has flagged, and submit those changes for regulator approval.