The latest story from journalist Ian Urbina on forced labor in China's seafood processing industry has once again put the spotlight on the risks and tradeoffs companies make when choosing to process their fish there.

The investigation, the third in a series from Urbina and his Outlaw Ocean Project, found that North Korean workers are being used in some factories processing fish for some of the largest names in the seafood industry.

A seafood processing plant in northeastern China called Dandong Taifeng, that supplies tens of thousands of tons of seafood was found to have 150 North Koreans working in the factory. Photo: The Outlaw Ocean Project

While several companies have dropped ties in the wake of the investigations, many others have said they are examining their supply chains prior to taking action. Urbina, however, doubts any companies in China were unaware of the potential for labor violations.

"They knew a lot of the Faustian bargain they were taking when they go into China and they said, 'Look, but the savings are incredible, the efficiency is incredible, the red tape is much less than we have in the US,'" Urbina told IntraFish. "And they made the decision to go in there with some risk."

There are seafood companies that have made an effort to ensure their supply chains were free from forced labor, and cited two in particular that were open and transparent with their practices and with the investigation.

"Some of these companies have way better knowledge because they've made efforts long before I came knocking," Urbina said.

Those companies may have some of the solutions to how to improve the supply chain, Urbina said.

Find out more in this week's IntraFish podcast: We brought Urbina to ask him about how he did his reporting what seafood companies should do next to get slave labor out of the supply chain. Listen below or on Apple Podcasts here.

Download the IntraFish app
Stay a step ahead on seafood. Get news, analysis and insight on-the-go with the IntraFish app.