Ranking Members Huffman, Grijalva, Stansbury Seek Whistleblower Documents Demonstrating Human Rights Violations by Major India Shrimp Supplier

March 21, 2024

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Ranking Member Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.) sent a letter requesting documents related to a whistleblower’s account of human rights abuses at a shrimp processing facility operated by one of India’s largest shrimp exporters, Choice Canning.

The whistleblower’s account was recently reported as part of the Outlaw Ocean Project’s extensive investigation into the use of forced labor and other human rights abuses across the global fishing industry.

In their letter, the lawmakers write, in part:

“We are disturbed by the widespread presence of forced labor and human rights violations in the seafood supply chain. As the single largest importer of seafood in the world, the U.S. holds tremendous market influence over the operations of global fisheries. The actions of U.S.-based importers and seafood companies disproportionately affect the health and safety of all seafood products and the likelihood that seafood is not produced with forced labor or through illegal, unregulated, or unreported fishing practices.”

The whistleblower’s account indicates potential violations of several laws by Choice Canning, including Section 307 of the Tarriff Act of 1930, the Lacey Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The lawmakers’ letter requests the documentation supporting these allegations.

READ the full letter here.


Extensive reporting by the Ocean Outlaw Project has brought to light the pervasiveness of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and forced labor practices across the global seafood supply chain, from fishing vessels to processing facilities. These human rights abuses and other IUU fishing practices pose major national security risks, geopolitical challenges, and environmental harm.

According to Outlaw Ocean Project’s most recent reporting, Americans get nearly one-third of their shrimp from India, with Choice Canning being one of the largest Indian suppliers. The company, which maintains a corporate office in Jersey City, New Jersey, recently became the first Indian company to join the Global Seafood Alliance.

By taking decisive action against IUU fishing, seafood fraud, and human rights violations in the seafood supply chain, the U.S. can strengthen the resilience and sustainability of global fisheries while setting an international example in promoting labor and environmental rights. Such efforts are crucial for marine conservation, global food security, upholding human rights standards, and protecting vulnerable workers.

Just last week, Ranking Members Grijalva and Huffman led a 26-member letter to the Biden administration urging a whole-of-government approach to combating IUU fishing and forced labor practices in the global seafood supply chain.