Lund’s Fisheries, PAFCO cease business with Chinese processors named in Outlaw Ocean report
Cape May, New Jersey, U.S.A.-based Lund’s Fisheries has ceased its business relationship with a Chinese supplier in the wake of a report by the Outlaw Ocean Project on the use of Uyghur laborers at seafood companies in China.
Lund’s Fisheries, in a statement released on 13 October, said that upon hearing questions and criticisms about Rongcheng Haibo – one of several Chinese companies named by the Outlaw Ocean Project in its report – it initiated an internal investigation and “resolved not to renew existing contracts with Rongcheng Haibo until that work was complete.” Now, although the company said it did not find any evidence of illegal activity or forced labor at Rongcheng Haibo, the company will continue to maintain the cessation of new business “pending further investigation.”
In its statement, Lund’s Fisheries also condemned illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and human rights violations.
“Lund's Fisheries takes allegations of this type seriously, which is why we engaged in numerous productive discussions with Ian Urbina and the staff of the Outlaw Ocean Project beginning in January 2023,” the company said.
Lund’s is just one of dozens of companies in the U.S. listed in the Outlaw Ocean Project report. When approached by the project with evidence of Uyghur labor in their respective supply chains, the reaction from companies was mixed.
Some, like the Pacific American Fish Co., cut ties with Chinese suppliers. On 28 September, PAFCO President Peter Huh said the company “decided to terminate” its relationship with Shandong Haidu Ocean Product CO. and Rongcheng Haibo Seafood. Another supplier, Asian product e-market Weee!, said it had stop offering products provided by the vendors in question.
“We have a strict supply code of conduct,” a communications agent representing the company, Monica Wallace of Ruderfinn, said. “If we find that any of our suppliers are in violation, we take immediate steps to address the concerns and/or stop selling the products in question.”
Many other companies did not respond at all. Aqua Star, Beaver Street, Bornstein Seafoods, C&D International Fishery, Fortuna Sea Products, Eastern Fish, Channel Fish Processing, Endeavor Seafood, Ocean Beauty Seafood, OBI Seafoods, and Southstream Seafoods did not respond to the Outlaw Ocean Project’s messages.
The Town Dock, another supplier implicated in a relationship with Rongcheng Wangdao, said that it did not have a relationship with the Chinese squid jigger or the processing plant. After the Outlaw Ocean Project said it received confirmation from a processor that it was supplying the Town Dock with squid, the company didn’t respond.
Conversations between the Outlaw Ocean Project and Lund’s Fisheries began on 10 January, with Lund’s President Wayne Reichle replying with ...
Photo courtesy of Lund's Fisheries