John West Foods Ltd. (John West) has announced that not guilty verdicts were declared on all counts of doing business directly connected to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing with which it had been charged.
This represented the conclusion of lengthy legal proceedings brought at the instigation of the UK Marine Management Organisation (MMO).
In August 2013, the MMO notified John West, a subsidiary of Thai Union Group, that it had begun an investigation into IUU fishing in Ghana – in particular a quantity of fish products which had been imported between January 2010 and February 2014. In December 2017, the MMO charged John West with eight counts of doing business directly connected with IUU fishing, targeting criminal claims which were expected to total a significant amount of money.
‘Throughout the process we have co-operated completely with the MMO and its investigators and have been fully transparent with them. We welcome the not guilty verdicts that have been recorded on all counts,’ said Thai Union’s Group Legal Affairs & Insurance Director David Sankowicz.
‘Thai Union Group and all our subsidiary companies are fully committed to complying with legal codes in all of the areas in which we source our products. Legal and responsible sourcing has always been, and will continue to be, the top priority for our business.’
As the CPS offered no evidence against John West, the Court entered verdicts of Not Guilty on all counts, bringing this case to a conclusion.
‘Thai Union and our subsidiaries take the issue of IUU fishing extremely seriously. We have extensive measures in place to ensure that our suppliers operate legally, with the appropriate and necessary documentation,’ commented Thai Union Europe Regional President Paul Reenan.
‘We do not buy fish from vessels which are on the IUU lists published by Regional Fisheries Management Organisations. We are very pleased that this policy has been validated by this decision and that our customers and consumers can be even more reassured that we provide them with good quality, tasty and fully traceable fish.’