Dylan Heppell

OASE intern at Pacific Seafoods

  • Industry: Seafood processing
  • Project Type: Water conservation
  • Location: Newport, OR
  • Major/University: Environmental Sciences, Oregon State University

Project Summary

Dylan Heppell interned for the Pacific Seafood Group at their shrimp facility in Newport, Oregon. Here they have facilities all along the bayfront that process Pacific whiting, shrimp, Dungeness crab, and rockfish. Dylan focused on four projects that could prevent using fresh water during shrimp processing. Shrimp processing in particular, uses fresh water at every step of the process which makes it the largest consumer of water, by far, of any of the seafood processes.

Potential Impacts


If implemented, a master cut-off switch is estimated to save between $14,000 and $15,000 each year which is equivalent to 2.8 to 3.0 million gallons of water each year. A hose replacement is estimated to save $9,000 and 1,700,000 gallons. While a water recirculation system is estimated to save between 9.0 and 10.0 million gallons of water each year, equating to approximately $45,000. Additionally, new peelers are estimated to save 31 million gallons and $1,300,000 when accounting for both the water savings and their increased yield.



Est. Annual Savings 


43.5 mil. gallons

Annual Water Savings


Founded in 1941, Pacific Seafood Group (PSG) is one of the largest seafood processors in the world and is focused on the quality of their products and the sustainability of their practices. There are facilities across eleven U.S. states that employ about 3,000 people. PSG operates at all levels of the seafood supply chain; from the harvest of the catch to the processing to the distribution of the finished product. PSG has a strong focus on sustainability and works directly with fishermen to process 34 Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certified Sustainable species at their facilities. Of those, 20 are MSC-certified as sustainable facilities. Along with wild harvest, PSG is focuses on sustainable aquaculture of species including steelhead and oysters. Their aquaculture facilities have received certifications from Best Aquaculture Practices and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.

With drought frequency and severity increasing across the West, reducing water use is becoming increasingly critical for PSG. The Newport water crisis in the summer of 2020 was a strong message for PSG to change its current practices and work to conserve water. A major focus of PSG is to prevent wasting water. There are many benefits including:

  • Reduced operating costs
  • Reduced environmental impact
  • Enhanced relations with the City of Newport
  • Better security as climate change impacts increase

Project Details

Shrimp processing in particular, uses freshwater at every step of the process. This makes it the largest consumer, by far, of any of the seafood processes. The OASE intern researched and recommended ways that freshwater can be saved during shrimp processing that included:

  • install a master cut-off switch that can shut off the water to non-critical areas of the plant when not in use,
  • replace one inch cleaning hoses with ¾ inch cleaning hoses and adding nozzles for more controlled water usage during spray-down periods,
  • install a water recirculation system that would clean and filter water for reuse, and
  • replace the current peelers with modern peelers to save water and increase yield.