May 23, 2024


Taste the Home & Environment

Alaska fines Bristol Bay salmon processor nearly $470,000 for environmental allowing violations

The Alaska Office of Environmental Conservation has fined a seafood processing plant in Bristol Bay $467,469 for violations relationship back again to 2017 that incorporate discharging millions of lbs . far more fish waste into the Naknek River than they have been allowed to dump.

The Silver Bay Seafoods plant on the Naknek River also allowed a vessel in 2021 to dump bloody wastewater from the catch into waters in close proximity to the dock, violating condition prerequisites, according to a 37-site consent arrangement signed Monday by the organization and Alaska officials.

Silver Bay Seafoods, running a number of seafood processing facilities in Alaska, has taken measures to correct the difficulty, a firm spokeswoman reported.

“Silver Bay Seafoods voluntarily carried out corrective actions right before the settlement was finalized,” mentioned Abby Fredrick, a spokeswoman with the corporation. “We are self-confident people steps will make sure compliance for this time and over and above.”

The plant is found about 300 miles southwest of Anchorage. It is about 5 miles upstream from the mouth of the Naknek River. The organization has been permitted by the point out to dump 10 million lbs . of fish into the river, as a result of an outfall line, right after it’s floor into little items. But much too considerably squander can hurt the river system, the agency stated in a statement Wednesday.

The penalty comes just as a further enormous salmon fishing year is predicted to quickly warmth up shortly in Bristol Bay. Fishermen and processors are acquiring ready for doable history-environment operate of 75 million sockeye salmon, the condition mentioned.

The fine appears to be the largest ever issued by the Alaska Division of Water, which incorporates earlier violations by the oil and gas and mining industries, mentioned Randy Bates, director of the division.

“This is overall, to the most effective of our information, the maximum penalty assessed to a permit holder,” Bates reported in an job interview.

Silver Bay knowingly disregarded the state’s permit terms, Bates said.

Bates claimed the measurement of the good is based mostly on a calculation underneath the tips of the Environmental Safety Company. Significantly of it addresses the financial gain the processor gained from the violations about competitors, he stated.

The penalty is the result of negotiations concerning the firm and the Division of Water, Bates claimed.

Silver Bay Seafoods has grown speedily since opening its very first facility in Sitka in 2007. One particular proprietor is StarKist, the U.S. canned tuna company, according to Alaska company data.

An inspection by the Division of Environmental Conservation in 2021 identified several violations at the Naknek plant, like fish waste that was not ground into little sufficient items, the agency reported in a assertion.

In 2020, Silver Bay Seafoods illegally dumped about 5 million lbs of fish squander into the Naknek River, exceeding its permitted restrict by about 50%, the point out mentioned in its assertion.

And in 2017, the seafood plant illegally dumped about 3 million kilos of waste into the Naknek River, about 30% additional than it was permitted to discharge. The organization claimed that was “due to the unprecedented sum of salmon we processed (that) yr,” in accordance to paperwork linked with the arrangement.

The arrangement lays out steps Silver Bay ought to acquire to avert comparable squander in the long run.

They include contracting with transportation vessels to have extra squander away from the river, and offering much better interaction with captains about limitations against dumping fishing wastewater into the water at the dock.

Bates stated the penalty should really discourage other seafood processors from violating the legislation.

“If you seem at Bristol Bay’s report operates, there is a large amount of dollars getting manufactured by fishermen and processors,” Bates explained. “I do not know how this high-quality compares to the gain lines of companies, but we want them to comply with the situations of the permits to safeguard the natural environment.”