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US imposes sanctions over illegal fishing linked to China

Measures show ‘how seriously we take the problem’, says Treasury Department

The US on Friday imposed sanctions on people and companies over alleged human rights abuses linked to illegal fishing operations based in China.

Those hit with the measures include Pingtan Marine Enterprises, which is listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Li Zhenyu and Xinrong Zhuo, both Chinese citizens, and 10 entities they control, including Dalian Ocean Fishing Co and Pingtan.

It also targeted 157 China-flagged fishing vessels linked to those entities.

“Today’s action demonstrates the US government’s ongoing effort to impose tangible and significant consequences on those engaged in serious human rights abuse, including on those vessels engaged in illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing,” the department said.

It added that the sanctions demonstrate “how seriously we take the problem of illicit fishing and our commitment to holding the perpetrators of serious human rights abuses to account”.

“Treasury condemns the practices of those sanctioned today, which often involve the abuse of human rights, undermine fundamental labour and environmental standards, and harm the economic prospects of local populations in the Indo-Pacific,” it said in a statement.

The designation of Pingtan marks the first time the US has imposed sanctions on a Nasdaq-listed company.