Chinese forced labour, over-fishing, serve NL seafood industry


Two Dutch companies have told RTL Nieuws they are reviewing their dealings with Chinese seafood firms following revelations about the widescale use of forced labour and over-fishing.

The Outlaw Ocean Project, based in Washington DC, reported earlier this month that China’s massive seafood industry accounts for a fifth of the international trade.

At the same time, crew are often exploited, while the trawlers themselves are involved in over fishing and out-competing small, local industries, the Outlaw Ocean Project said. The processing industry also relies heavily on forced Uyghur and other labour.

Urk company Seafood Connection told RTL Nieuws that it had stopped its contract with two Chinese fish suppliers immediately following the revelations. “We are disappointed to hear that forced labour … continues in countries like China and our thoughts are with the victims,” the company said.

Supermarket giant Albert Heijn said it would look again at two products named in the report which come from factories where Uyghurs are forced to work. If the allegations are correct, the company will stop the contract straight away, a spokesman told the broadcaster.

In total, the researchers contacted 10 different organisations and companies in the Netherlands about possible links to forced labour.

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