The EJF report alleges labor abuse and illegal fishing on Zhejiang Ocean Family vessels

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

Drawing on interviews with Indonesian migrant workers who have worked on ZOF ships in recent years, EJF Extensive labor abuse and illegal fishing such as shark finning, as well as other unethical activities on ZOF-owned or associated vessels, often on the high seas, that receive little oversight.

Almost 80 percent of workers interviewed by EJF said they were subjected to excessive overtime on ZOF vessels, more than half said the vessel they managed was involved in illegal fishing, including catching protected shark species, and 8 percent said they wanted to. Their identity documents were confiscated on ships operated by the Chinese company.

ZOF declined Seafood Source's request for comment on the allegations.

EJF compiled a list of seafood companies that purchased from ZOF vessels using data published by the Chinese company. The 2023 initial public offering was canceled. Further down the supply chain, EJF found that these companies supply major retailers in Japan including Rakuten and Amazon, as well as other global retailers such as Carrefour, Iceland, Lidl, Marks & Spencer and El Corte Ingles.

EJF is now calling on these seafood companies and retailers to recall any products illegally sourced by ZOF and then stop trading with Ocean Family. The EJF recommended that retailers work with their national food safety authorities to ensure the legality of products.

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The EJF has also requested the Chinese authorities to investigate.

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