May 9, 2023
The Bottom Line Up Front

C4ADS has tracked Pingtan Marine Enterprise, a China-based fishing company, since 2017, producing and sharing multiple reports that investigate the company’s track record of IUU fishing and linkages to both its national government and US financial markets.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — On April 28, 2023, the Nasdaq Stock Market announced that it would delist the ordinary shares of Pingtan Marine Enterprise Ltd. (PME), a People’s Republic of China-based fishing company with a documented history of global and industry transgressions.

C4ADS has tracked PME since 2017, producing and sharing multiple reports that explore and investigate both the company’s track record of environmentally devastating activity and allegations of fraud (among other crimes). This work culminated in our early 2022 Net Worth report, which sought to expose PME’s linkages to the Chinese government and end their access to foreign markets’ financial support once and for all.

“It is imperative to also trace the onshore ownership networks of these vessels,” said C4ADS analyst Samuel Naujokas. “The ultimate perpetrators of the environmental and human rights violations committed by these vessels are those who own them and finance them, and it’s these people who should be punished for these crimes. Additionally, the fleets of industrialized IUU fishing vessels around the world pose a significant threat to the stability of developing coastal nations, and should be treated as the danger to national and global security that they are.”

PME’s recent delisting comes after many years of concerted efforts from C4ADS and our broader counter-IUU fishing network. In that time, we have worked to bring civil society, government, and the private sector together to frustrate the exponential growth of PME’s fleets across the high seas

In our 2019 Strings Attached report, we showed PME’s connection to broad corruption, human rights abuses, IUU fishing, and United Front activity. We continued to push for accountability for the crimes outlined in the report and, as a first step, the United States issued visa denials for associates of the firm in 2020.

In 2021, we supported veteran journalist Joshua Goodman’s Associated Press analysis of PME’s role as a state-controlled maritime militia — a story that also involved an adjacent C4ADS investigation into a specific tanker, observed servicing the Chinese fleet, operated by the affiliate of a company we first identified in a report on North Korean fuel smuggling networks.

While this decision from Nasdaq is unarguably an important step in ensuring that United States stock investors are no longer complicit in funding the illegal activities of this major Chinese fishing company, it’s not a magic bullet solution. PME will likely continue to destablize the ecosystems and sovereignty of nations around the world (including in Latin America and the Pacific Islands) with financial support from their national government.

“We’ve recently joined the Joint Analytical Cell, a collaborative partnership between leading counter-IUU NGOs that aims to combine the best skills between our organizations to more effectively target and disrupt global IUU fishing fleets,” said Naujokas. “Our partners on the JAC are Global Fishing Watch, TMT, Skylight/Allen Institute for AI, and the International Monitoring, Control, and Surveillance Network. We’re so excited and honored to work alongside these leaders in the field, and look forward to expanding our counter-IUU efforts with the JAC soon.”

At C4ADS, we know that the same actors that commit environmental crimes often pose serious threats to our global community. Identifying those who ultimately profit from IUU fishing (as we did in our recent Sea Shells issue brief) is key to addressing a slew of security issues, from corruption all the way up to the projection of maritime power intended to undermine the sovereignty of vulnerable states.

For additional information about our work countering illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, please read our recent Sea Shells issue brief, visit the dedicated initiative page on our website, or reach out to us at [email protected]. For any related media inquiries, please email [email protected].