Greenpeace USA and other organizations call on US Customs and Border Patrol to block imports from major Taiwanese seafood producer
by Katie Nelson
September 7, 2021
An administrative complaint against Taiwanese seafood trading company FCF Co, Ltd., has been lodged with the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) over strong concerns of forced labor and other human rights abuses in its supply chain.
New York, New York, September 7, 2021 — An administrative complaint against Taiwanese seafood trading company FCF Co, Ltd., has been lodged with the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) over strong concerns of forced labor and other human rights abuses in its supply chain. It alleges that there is reasonable suspicion of human rights abuses in the distant-water-fishing (DWF) fleets that supply FCF, and therefore warrants CBP intervention to investigate and potentially block related seafood imports from entering the US market.
FCF, which acquired major US tuna brand Bumble Bee Seafoods last year and is one of the world’s largest tuna traders, has previously been accused or suspected of forced labor, human trafficking, IUU (illegal, unreported, and unregulated) fishing, and illegal shark finning in its supply chain. The company additionally may have potential links to the deaths of a fishery observer and an Indonesian migrant fisher.
J. Park, Senior Fisheries Campaigner for Greenpeace USA, said:
“For years, Greenpeace and other organizations have documented the destructive fishing practices and human rights abuses in FCF’s supply chains — there is more than enough reasonable suspicion that seafood traded by FCF and imported by Bumble Bee is produced by forced labor.
“That’s why we’re calling on Customs and Border Protection to do the right thing and block FCF imports for 90 days, pending changes in FCF’s policies and practices, and permanently if our recommendations to the company are not met. US seafood companies and retailers should not be profiting from seafood caught with forced labor.”
The complaint, was filed by Greenpeace US, Indonesia, and Taiwan is backed by six other human rights and migrant fisher organizations and is informed by various reports by the Greenpeace Taipei office, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, and other organizations specializing in forced labor in DWF.
Moffy Chen, Ocean Project Lead at Greenpeace East Asia, said:
“We have tried to engage and build a relationship with FCF and provide them with information to improve their standards. But they continue to rebuke our research with vague promises — for this reason and more, Greenpeace East Asia strongly supports this petition.
“FCF needs to change its inadequate policies and remediate forced labor in its supply chain. At the end of the day, our concern is for the livelihoods and well-being of the fishers who work on board these vessels, and FCF should feel compelled to act in the same way.”
The CBP has previously blocked imports from vessels linked to human rights and environmental violations, based in part on Greenpeace investigations. If successful, this petition will compel FCF to secure the changes needed to continue selling its products to US corporations and consumers. Such changes would mean fewer instances of forced labor and related abuses in its five fleets, better working and living conditions aboard the vessels, an end to pay discrimination, and overall greater respect for the rights of all fishers.
Organizations signed on to the complaint include the following:
Asosiasi Pekerja Perikanan Indonesia (AP2I – Indonesian Fisheries Workers Association)
Greenpeace East Asia (Taiwan)
Greenpeace Southeast Asia (Indonesia)
Keelung Migrant Fishermen Union
Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia (SBMI – Indonesian Migrant Workers Union)
Serikat Pelaut Sulawesi Utara (SPSU – North Sulawesi Seafarers Union, Indonesia)
Taiwan Association for Human Rights
Yilan Migrant Fishermen Union
Katie Nelson, Senior Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 (678) 644-1681, [email protected]