In response to what Washington claims are violations of human rights connected to China-based unlawful deep-water fishing, the United States on Friday announced sanctions on individuals and organizations, including Pingtan Marine Enterprise, which is listed on the Nasdaq.
Chinese citizens Li Zhenyu and Zhuo Xinrong, as well as 10 organizations connected to them, including Dalian Ocean Fishing Co. and Pingtan Marine Enterprise, were targeted by the sanctions, according to the U.S. Treasury Department (PME).
PME and its founder, Zhuo, Dalian Ocean Fishing and China’s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The designation of PME marks the first time the U.S. has imposed sanctions on an entity listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
Washington also targeted 157 China-flagged fishing vessels linked to the sanctioned entities, it said.
U.S. President Joe Biden in June signed a national security memorandum to fight illegal fishing, part of pledged efforts to help countries combat alleged violations by fishing fleets, including those of China, which has the world’s largest deep water fishing fleet.
Countries around the world chafe at China’s fishing practices, arguing its vessels often violate their 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zones (EEZ) and cause environmental damage and economic losses.
China says it is a responsible fishing country that has been cooperating internationally to clamp down on illegal fishing, and that it fishes in relevant EEZs according to bilateral agreements.
“Treasury condemns the practices of those sanctioned today, which often involve the abuse of human rights, undermine fundamental labor and environmental standards, and harm the economic prospects of local populations in the Indo-Pacific,” the Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, said in the statement.
The action on Friday prohibits Americans from doing business with those identified and freezes any U.S. assets of those individuals.
Up until March 9, U.S. citizens were permitted by a general license from the Treasury to conduct specific transactions involving the debt or equity of PME.
According to a senior Treasury official, the United States will announce a second round of penalties on Friday against individuals and organizations operating all over the world who engage in significant human rights violations and corruption. According to the official, the will cover roughly nine countries and include close to 50 targets.