WASHINGTON — The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on individuals and companies, including Nasdaq-listed Pingtan Marine Enterprise, Ltd. (PME), over what Washington says are human rights abuses linked to China-based illegal distant water fishing.

The US Treasury department imposed sanctions on Li Zhenyu and Xinrong Zhuo, both Chinese nationals, and 10 entities they control, including Dalian Ocean Fishing Co., Ltd. and PME, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said in a statement.

It also targeted 157 China-flagged fishing vessels linked to those entities, it said.

“Treasury condemns the practices of those sanctioned today, which often involve the abuse of human rights, undermine fundamental labor and environmental standards, and harm the economic prospects of local populations in the Indo-Pacific,” the Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, said in the statement.

The designation of PME marks the first time the US has imposed sanctions on an entity listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Treasury also issued general licenses allowing US persons to engage in certain transactions related to the wind down of financial contracts and other agreements related to PME or the divestment or transfer of debt or equity of PME until March 9. — Reuters