Bigeye tuna. (Photo Credit: NOAA)
Chinese govt takes distance from tuna fishing firm
Thursday, October 16, 2014, 00:50 (GMT + 9)
Authorities in China have decided to distance themselves from the firm China Tuna Industry Group Holdings (CTI), since it is deemed as ‘incompatible’ with China's conservation and management measures.
This move was made after the newspaper Star Times revealed that the Chinese-operated tuna fishing company had breached fishery management rules and ‘seriously misled investors and the international community,’ Stuff posted in its website.
Meanwhile, environmental group Greenpeace -- which had carried out investigation on the firm’s initial public offering’s (IPO) documents -- received confirmation from the Bureau of Fisheries that data on those documents were outdated and inaccurate on the size of tuna stocks, particularly bigeye tuna.
According to a bureau memo dated 30 September, "The bureau has never given approval for CTI to engage in offshore fishing, has not registered their fishing boats with any regional fisheries management organization nor allocated any quota to the company".
Greenpeace East Asia senior business adviser Elsa Lee said the group welcomed China's "strong stand" against the company.
"We are looking forward to China taking stronger measures [...] against the fishing companies to make sure that they are not over-catching the catch limit in the tuna stocks," she said.
Furthermore, Greenpeace also wrote to Deutsche Bank warning its support of the company's IPO risked breaching its own environmental guidelines.
The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) welcomed the NGO’s steps, since bigeye and yellowfin tuna stocks are under pressure.
WCPFC admitted the Chinese government has been working hard to fix problems in its industry but claimed China will have some explaining to do when it meets with more than 30 countries that will come together in December to review conservation measures.
"I suspect there will be a number of questions raised on the prospectus at the commission meeting in Samoa in December, and I expect that China will have quite a few difficult questions to answer," expressed WCPFC executive director Glenn Hurry.
For its part, CTI has admitted to breaching catch quotas for the most vulnerable species in the Pacific, reported Radio Australia.
In a draft prospectus presented to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, CTI reported that China had exceeded the catch quotas for bigeye and yellowfin tuna for three of the last four years for which records are available.
However, the Group claimed sanctions were ineffective and that, according to legal advice, it would not be penalised for its actions.
CTI also outlined plans for a public listing that it hoped would raise more than USD 100 million to fund expansion of its activities.
CTI is Cayman Island-registered with a Chinese-flagged tuna longliner fleet under a CTI subsidiary, Dalian Ocean Fishing Company Ltd.