Seattle-based pollock producers say the sinking of a Russian trawler with dozens of fatalities earlier this month raises disturbing questions about a Sea of Okhotsk fishery that has a sustainable fishing certification through the Marine Stewardship Council.

Russian criminal investigators are looking into allegations that the ship, called Dalny Vostok, had numerous safety violations and went to sea with illegal crew from Myanmar who lacked work permits. It sank April 1, leaving 65 dead and 12 missing among its crew of 132, according to reports.

"Fisheries need to be monitored, and if they aren't doing that on labor issues, it's a pretty good guess they're not doing that on environmental issues," said Jim Gilmore, a spokesman for the At-Sea Processors Association, which represents the largely Seattle-based fleet that catches and processes pollock off Alaska.

The April 1 sinking comes amid increased scrutiny of the environmental and labor practices of international fishing fleets, and seafood distributors are under increased pressure to take care in sourcing their products.

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