News and Press

Leading by Example

Doubling down on our investment in ensuring supply chain integrity.

An aerial photo of the Alaska coastline

Op-Ed by Joe Bundrant, CEO of Trident Seafoods

Late last year, the Outlaw Ocean Project (OOP) published an in-depth report highlighting human rights abuses in the Chinese seafood sector. The report – published in The New Yorker and picked up by several mainstream media outlets – exposed the heartbreaking reality of the inhumane treatment suffered by Uyghurs and other workers on Chinese fishing vessels and in seafood processing facilities located throughout China.

As I stated in a 2023 op-ed shortly after the report was published and reiterated again last month, as an industry this is unacceptable. Trident supports OOP's mission to advance human rights and supply chain transparency in China, and we’re grateful for the light that they are shining on where the industry is falling short. Collectively, the global seafood industry can and must do better.

Sadly, the story doesn’t end there. Yesterday, OOP released a follow-up report containing additional claims of human rights abuses at seafood processing facilities in China. The latest report details how North Korean nationals cross the border between North Korea and China where they’re forced into labor at Chinese facilities.

The report is deeply disturbing, and yet another black mark against a global seafood industry already reeling from allegations of supply chain impropriety.

Prior to publishing its latest report, reporters with OOP contacted Trident to notify the company that, through the course of their investigation, they uncovered the presence of North Korean workers at a Trident supplier located in the Liaoning province of China. Without hesitation, Trident suspended trade with the supplier and initiated its own independent investigation.

While our investigation remains ongoing, we’ve cooperated with, and remain fully aligned with OOP in advocating for a transparent and healthy seafood supply chain. Trident has for the past 20 years operated in China with a comprehensive Food Safety and Quality Assurance (FSQA) program and an experienced production leadership team. In addition to third-party audits and certifications, we’ve also expanded our in-house Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program to include a full-time, on-site CSR presence in China, through which we’re able to assess compliance with our social standards and offer training and guidance to ensure companies and processing workers alike understand our human rights requirements, grievance mechanisms, and ethical workplace practices.

I am proud of our global CSR program and equally proud of our China team, who strive every day to fulfill our company's Vision of making people’s lives better. I believe that our program works and is intended to provide good jobs that significantly improve outcomes for Chinese employees and their families.

In light of the OOP report, our most urgent priority is ensuring the completion of our independent investigation. We are focusing specifically on determining if – or how – we failed to detect violations of Trident’s Human Rights and Supplier Code of Conduct policies. If gaps exist in our CSR program and auditing process, then the answer is simple: We’ll fix them.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Trident is doubling down on doing the right thing by making the necessary investments and improvements needed to ensure every aspect of our seafood supply chain is compliant with our standards and our customers' standards. The time is now for our entire industry to do the same.

Companies and consumers cannot continue to deny or turn a blind eye to the true cost of cheap seafood. It is unconscionable. At Trident, that’s not who we are, and as a leader in the seafood industry for more than 50 years, it’s not who we ever want to be.