China blacklists firm in Galapagos shark-catching scandal
Fuzhou Hong Long Long Distance Fishing Co., the firm blamed by Ecuador for fishing for sharks in the Galapagos Islands, has had its license revoked by Chinese authorities and its staff have been put on a “blacklist” maintained by the Department of Agriculture’s Fishing Bureau.
China initially suggested the “Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999” reefer was carrying the catch of Taiwanese trawlers when Ecuadorean authorities impounded the vessel with more than 2,000 sharks aboard. Twenty crew members on the vessel received four-year jail sentences in Ecuador following a trial in late 2017.
The blacklist being kept by the ministry in Beijing – which issues licenses to local firms seeking to fish overseas – could be a useful tool in global efforts to combat IUU fishing. It’s not clear, however, who has access to the list or if China is sharing it with international conservation authorities.
This isn’t the first time a Chinese company has run into a blacklisting situation with the country’s fisheries authorities. An unnamed Dalian fishing firm had its license revoked after its three vessels fishing illegally for bluefin tuna in 2017, according to Zhang Liu Xin, the deputy head of the Fishery Bureau at the Department of Agriculture, at a recent press conference.
Fuzhou Hong Long Long Distance Fishing Co. is apparently owned by the brother of the boss of another leading Chinese fishery firm, Pingtan Marine, according to Chinese business magazine Caixin.