Contested Bristol Bay salmon ends up in Alaska landfill
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Nearly 160,000 pounds of salmon from a failed Alaska fishing operation have reached an Anchorage landfill after testing declared it unfit for consumption.
The Bristol Bay salmon came off of the fishing vessel Akutan last month, and its stakeholders are pointing at each other as responsible for the fish contamination, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported .
The Akutan was planned to be a floating custom processor that could handle up to 100,000 pounds of salmon a day for a small fleet of fishermen under Bristol Bay Seafoods LLC. But when the vessel experienced a number of problems and the owner went broke, the crew was left unpaid.
A lawyer representing the seafood company said they believe the fish became contaminated sometime between the August inspection by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and when the fish were unloaded from the processor in early September. Samples of the fish were found to be saturated with diesel, which the lawyer said indicated the crew was responsible either by negligence or by other means.
Steve Lecklitner, the captain of the vessel, has disputed the testing on the fish conducted by a third-party group, questioning the methods and thoroughness. He said less than 1 percent of the fish was tested.
The captain said the seafood company had a motive for wanting the fish declared unfit as it would allow the company to file for an insurance claim for full market value.
“If the fish is condemned, then Bristol Bay Seafoods has an insurance claim. They would receive all of it,” Lecklitner said. “If it went that way, then the crew would not get paid.”
Lecklitner said the U.S. Department of Labor had liens on the fish, so the seafood company would not have seen any of the money.
Information from: KTOO-FM, http://www.ktoo.org