Dozens of crew members hailing from China, Indonesia and the Philippines were being questioned in connection with the man’s death.
Anti-trafficking experts say the fishing industry is riddled with forced labor and exploited workers can face non-payment, overwork, violence and death.
Indonesia and Southeast Asia are major sources of such labor and unscrupulous brokers target the poor and uneducated with promises of good wages at sea.
In June, two Indonesian crew members jumped off a Chinese boat to escape what they described as abuse and horrific conditions.
They were later rescued by an Indonesian fishing boat and police said Thursday they had arrested nine people over the abuse claims.
A month earlier, three dead Indonesian crew members were thrown off a Chinese-flagged vessel into the sea.
Jakarta later said it was told that the men had died of illness, while Beijing described the sea burials as being in line with international law.