US places sanctions on 2 Chinese language firms over alleged unlawful fishing practices

Joe Biden’s administration has imposed monetary sanctions on two massive Chinese language fishing fleet firms, together with one listed on Nasdaq, that it has accused of participating in unlawful fishing and human rights abuses.

The US Treasury on Friday put sanctions on Pingtan Marine Enterprise, a Cayman Islands-registered Chinese language firm listed on the Nasdaq change, and Dalian Ocean Fishing. It additionally focused two people — Li Zhenyu and Zhuo Xinrong — whom Treasury mentioned managed fishing fleet networks that included the 2 firms.

“These designations exhibit how critically we take the issue of illicit fishing and our dedication to holding the perpetrators of great human rights abuses to account,” mentioned Brian Nelson, a prime Treasury official, who added that the practices “hurt the financial prospects of native populations within the Indo-Pacific”.

The strikes marked the primary time Washington has put “International Magnitsky” sanctions on an organization listed on Nasdaq. The motion freezes any US-based belongings of the businesses and people, however it provides US buyers 90 days to unwind any monetary holdings within the entities.

The Treasury additionally added eight different fishing entities related to Pingtan Marine and its chief government Li, and Dalian Ocean and its chair Zhuo, to its “specifically designated nationals checklist”. The checklist names the people and firms whose belongings have been frozen by the US.

The sanctions are a part of an effort by the Biden administration to counter illegal fishing within the Pacific to assist nations cut back revenues misplaced on account of it. It’s a part of a broader Indo-Pacific technique designed to push again towards malign Chinese language actions and enhance the attractiveness of the US as a companion throughout the area.

When President Biden and the leaders of the Quad — a safety grouping of the US, Japan, Australia and India — met in Tokyo in Could, they unveiled a satellite-based initiative to counter unlawful fishing. The US Coast Guard can also be working extra with nations throughout the Indo-Pacific, together with the susceptible Pacific Islands nations.

In a latest interview with the Financial Times, Canadian overseas minister Mélanie Joly mentioned Ottawa was stepping up efforts within the Indo-Pacific to assist nations sort out unlawful fishing, which she mentioned was one of many contributing components to tensions flaring within the area.

Joly mentioned Canada would put money into oceans administration initiatives, together with satellite tv for pc imagery and different applied sciences, to assist nations within the Indo-Pacific implement their maritime boundaries.

In June, Biden issued a memorandum that instructed US authorities companies to step up efforts to fight unlawful fishing and associated compelled labour abuses. It highlighted “distant water fishing”, a follow the place nations fish removed from house in distant areas the place it’s tougher to make sure that vessels aren’t participating in criminal activity.

In designating the Chinese language fishing fleet firms, the Treasury mentioned the crew on one of many 32 vessels operated by Dalian Ocean Fishing had labored for 18 hours a day for 13 months and have been residing off expired meals. It added that 5 crew members had died and that the our bodies of three have been dumped overboard as a substitute of being repatriated.

Treasury mentioned Pingtan Marine Enterprise, which operates a fleet of greater than 100 fishing vessels, had been concerned in human rights abuses and implicated in unlawful fishing in Indonesia, East Timor and Ecuador. It added that it had discovered 157 Chinese language flagged fishing boats that have been related with Pingtan Marine and Dalian Ocean.

Liu Pengyu, spokesperson for the Chinese language embassy in Washington, mentioned China “firmly rejects” the accusations and that the US was “is in no place to impose unwarranted sanctions on different nations or act as a ‘world policeman’.”

“China is a accountable fishing nation. We now have all the time labored with different members of the worldwide neighborhood to crack down on unlawful, unreported and unregulated fishing, and have carried out so much in successfully combating unlawful fishing,” Liu added.

Comply with Demetri Sevastopulo on Twitter


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