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Icicle Seafoods, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Evening Star, Inc., have agreed to spend nearly $2 million to resolve Clean Water Act (CWA) violations associated with the operation of the M/V Northern Victor, a seafood processing vessel, in Alaska’s Udagak Bay.
The settlement requires the payment of a $900,000 civil penalty. Icicle has already spent approximately $1.1 million cleaning up a historic seafood waste pile that created a one-acre “dead zone” on the Alaskan seafloor.
According to Elin Miller, EPA northwest regional administrator in Seattle, seafood processors need to look for new ways to protect the health of the seafloor, starting with preventing waste piles.
“Contrary to popular belief, waste piles on the seafloor do have a long-lasting, damaging effect on the environment,” said EPA’s Miller. “This waste, particularly the bony material, doesn’t ‘just go away.’ It degrades slowly, causing harm for decades.”
The violations occurred aboard the seafood processing vessel, the M/V Northern Victor, which operates in Udagak Bay on the eastern side of Unalaska Island. The vessel is permitted to discharge seafood processing waste by an EPA-issued National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.
Several violations were observed during an inspection conducted in 2003. Following the inspection, Icicle made significant improvements aboard the vessel to remedy the violations. However, the companies failed to comply with one major provision of the permit, which required the cleanup of a historic seafood waste pile created by the vessel’s discharges prior to 1999.
After the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against Icicle and Evening Star in 2006, the companies undertook the removal of the historic waste pile. They subsequently agreed to pay a $900,000 civil penalty.