A federal judge has ordered a Florida Keys fish exporter to pay a $250,000 fine and placed the company on five years’ probation for falsely labeling seafood it sent to China as Florida spiny lobster.
The company, Elite Sky International Inc., based in the Middle Keys town of Marathon, mislabeled the product due to increased demand abroad as the Florida spiny lobster became a delicacy in China and other parts of Asia, federal prosecutors said.
The company is accused of exporting 63,000 pounds of spiny lobster it bought from Nicaragua and Belize between November 2018 and October 2019 and exported to China in boxes marked “Live Florida Spiny Lobsters, Product of the USA,” it said. US Attorney’s Office in a statement. press release.
Elite Sky International lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.
The company also exported about 5,666 pounds of shark fins it received from local licensed fishermen and exported them to China in boxes labeled “Live Florida Spiny Lobster, Product of the USA” or “Frozen Fish,” prosecutors said.
As part of Judge K. Michael Moore’s Feb. 21 order, Elite Sky’s probationary period includes a requirement that it establish a corporate compliance program and hire outside, independent auditors to oversee its future business activities.