StarKist parent facing criminal charges


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
March 12, 2013

StarKist Tuna’s parent company, Dongwon Industries, is facing criminal charges in Africa for forging government documents, including a fake fishing license and doctored official correspondence.

African authorities caught a Dongwon-owned purse seine tuna fishing vessel, FN Premier, using a fake fishing license in Liberia in 2011 and 2012. The company then sent a letter, forged to appear from the Liberian Bureau of National Fisheries, to the Korean government implying that the allegation of illegal fishing was a misunderstanding. The same gored letter was also sent to African governments seeking new fishing licenses for the vessel.

The government of Liberia has asked the Korean government to investigate the Premier violations. Eight member countries of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission have already refused Dongwon's ship entry into their waters, and the United Kingdom and European Union have issued warnings against entry of illegally caught fish.

Greenpeace is calling for the South Korean government to call the company’s fleet home, conduct and investigation into their vessels activities and prosecute as necessary.

Under Korean law, a vessel caught fishing illegally can have its license revoked, and in case of repeated offense its highest executive can face up to 3 years in jail and millions in penalties.

The company ranked at the bottom of Greenpeace’s sustainable tuna guide last year.

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