In response to requests from companies and fellow reporters to describe how we revealed the use of forced labor in seafood processed in China and other crimes tied to Chinese ships, we made a explanatory video that shows the evidence and how it was collected.

The video focuses on one company in particular, called the Chishan Group, for three reasons.

First, Chishan is distinctly important in the global seafood market. It is the single biggest private player in China’s squid industry. Two of its plants – Rongcheng Haibo Seafood and Shandong Haidu Ocean Product – process 30 percent of all squid in China. Chishan also processes 17 percent of all squid imported to the U.S. from China. The company also exports squid to Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, and Spain, including to major distributors like Ruggiero Seafoods, and Sea Relation Inc. In turn, many of these companies supply major food service distributors like Performance Food Group, which sources over 300,000 customer locations.

Second, Chishan is tied to many different seafood sectors: it owns at least forty fishing ships, some of China’s largest processing facilities, and three transshipment refrigeration vessels that carry catch back to shore.

Third, Chishan is worth close study because the evidence of ties between its plants and forced labor from Xinjiang region in China is especially strong and the use of labor from Xinjiang on products exported to the U.S. and E.U. is forbidden.

It is worth noting that several seafood brands, including Wee!, PAFCO, and Lund’s Fisheries, have already cut ties to certain Chishan plants. Over the past year, officials from Haibo and Haidu have repeatedly denied that the plants used Xinjiang labor. The Chishan Group has not engaged. All of these interactions can be seen in full on the Discussion page of our website.

The bigger point, however, is that the Chishan Group is not unique. What we found in our investigation was that many seafood companies are tied to a wide variety of similar problems with forced labor or illegal fishing. And, truth be told, the pervasiveness of these problems is why the global seafood industry likely will have to assess how it monitors its supply chains, especially when these supply chains route through China.

Will social and marine audits be the solution? Time will tell. But many of the companies, including those owned by Chishan, relied on such audits to verify that there was no forced labor or other types of crimes like illegal fishing in the very supply chains that the investigation revealed were tainted by these problems.

A variety of researchers have shown that such audits are deeply flawed in the best of circumstances (like when they are used in factories on land in countries other than China). The current investigation shows that these audits are even more fraught when conducted on fishing ships or in factories in China, where information and access is so controlled and where journalists, labor inspectors or ocean conservation NGOs are expelled from the country if they critique the government or companies.