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Alternative Seafood Waste Disposal Procedures for Alaskan Waters

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3 Author(s)
Thorne, R.E. ; Prince William Sound Sci. Center, Cordova, AK ; Thomas, G.L. ; Bishop, M.A.

In 1975 EPA produced effluent discharge guidelines for the seafood processor industry that required wastes to be ground to 1.27 cm (frac12") in any dimension prior to discharge. Subsequently, several negative impacts were observed around Cordova, Alaska, including noticeable decreases in crab and halibut harvests and a substantial increase in numbers of Glaucous-winged gulls. We hypothesize that the change in discharge guidelines removed a food source for the large bottom oriented animals and increased availability to the surface-oriented gulls. In 2004, we began a three year study to examine impacts of seafood waste discharge into Orca Inlet, including evaluation of alternative discharge and disposal methods that could be beneficial to fishermen, the processors and the community. Preliminary indications are that the heads and carcasses disperse rapidly and are efficiently incorporated into the food chain with no negative consequences, a very favorable contrast to the current EPA-mandated practice

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18-21 Sept. 2006

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