Something Fishy

We all know that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. In the case of fresh seafood, the most direct journey is from a fishery to the supermarkets to the consumer. But there are many seafood products that make plenty of stops in between. According to the Sustainable Ocean Project, the path of seafood from the water to restaurants and homes can be lengthy and complicated. Unfortunately, for many workers involved in the various steps of getting seafood to our tables, the journey is not smooth.

This summer, Huffington Post reported that workers in a crawfish processing plant in Louisiana “sent a complaint to the U.S. Labor Department, accusing their employer of forcing them to work up to 24-hour shifts hand-picking crawfish and denying them overtime pay.” Workers also said they were often locked up and threatened with beatings to work harder and meet quotas.

Internationally, human trafficking, or modern-day slavery, has been a continuing problem in the seafood industry. The Human Traffic Watch blog has several posts about it. There are stories of Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Burmese workers who, lured by the hope of earning steady income for their families, were kept for years on Thai fishing boats without pay in inhumane conditions. According to Global Post, Thailand is America’s second largest seafood supplier, providing $2.5 billion, or one out of six pounds of US seafood imports.  

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So, how can we make seafood choices that are good for us and the world? Visit the following sites for ideas: - Sustainable Ocean Project - i love blue sea - Marine Stewardship Council