EJF report alleges labor abuse, illegal fishing aboard Zhejiang Ocean Family vessels

The NGO has called on retailers purchasing from Ocean Family to recall any products from the Chinese company and to cease trading with ZOF
Shark fins attained illegally
Shark fins attained illegally | Photo courtesy of CatwalkPhotos/Shutterstock
6 Min

Some of the world’s largest retailers have been confirmed to be vendors of seafood sourced from Chinese tuna company Zhejiang Ocean Family (ZOF), which has recently become the focus of an Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) report on human rights abuses.

Drawing on interviews with Indonesian migrant workers who staffed ZOF vessels in recent years, the EJF has detailed labor abuse and illegal fishing such as shark finning, as well as other unethical actions, taking place aboard ZOF-owned or -associated ships,  often on the high seas, where they receive little oversight.

Nearly 80 percent of the workers interviewed by EJF said they’d been subjected to excessive overtime aboard ZOF vessels, more than half said the vessel they manned engaged in illegal fishing, including the catching of protected shark species, and 8 percent said they’d had their identification documents confiscated on vessels operated by the Chinese company.

ZOF declined SeafoodSource's request for comment on the allegations.

EJF developed a list of seafood firms that purchased from ZOF vessels by using data published by the Chinese company in a canceled 2023 initial public offering. Following the supply chain further, the EJF found that these firms supplied major retailers in Japan, including Rakuten and Amazon, as well as other global retailers like Carrefour, Iceland, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, and El Corte Inglés.

EJF is now calling on these seafood companies and retailers to recall any products that may have been illegally sourced by ZOF and to subsequently cease trading with Ocean Family. EJF also recommended they reatilers work with their national food safety authorities to confirm the legality of the products.

EJF has also requested Chinese authorities investigate the ...

SeafoodSource Premium

Become a Premium member to unlock the rest of this article.

Continue reading ›

Already a member? Log in ›


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500
Secondary Featured Article