Court puts an end to lengthy IUU proceedings against John West Foods

Published on
November 1, 2019

Thai Union announced this week that its United Kingdom-based subsidiary John West Foods has been cleared of doing business directly connected to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU), with which it had previously been charged.

In a statement released Thursday, 31 October, the Thai seafood giant said as the Crown Prosecution Service in the U.K. offered no evidence against John West, the court on Wednesday October 30 entered verdicts of not guilty on all counts, putting an end to lengthy legal proceedings brought at the instigation of the U.K. Marine Management Organization (MMO).

In August 2013, the MMO notified John West that it had begun an investigation into IUU fishing out of Ghana – in particular, a quantity of fish products that had been imported between January 2010 and February 2014. In December 2017, the MMO charged John West with eight counts of doing business directly connected with IUU fishing.

Throughout the process, John West has strongly disputed these allegations and denied any wrongdoing, according to Thai Union. 

Thai Union Group Legal Affairs and Insurance Director David Sankowicz said the company has cooperated with the MMO and its investigators during the process.

Thai Union and all its subsidiaries are fully committed to complying with legal codes in all of the areas in which they source their products, Paul Reenan, regional president of Thai Union Europe, added.

“Thai Union and our subsidiaries take the issue of IUU fishing extremely seriously. We have extensive measures in place to ensure that our suppliers operate legally, with the appropriate and necessary documentation,” Reenan said. “We do not buy fish from vessels which are on the IUU lists published by regional fisheries management organizations.”

Photo courtesy of Andrew E. Gardner/Shutterstock

Contributing Editor reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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