June 17, 2014
A report last week shed stunning light on work conditions on fishing boats half way around the world and opened a door for local shrimpers and fisherman to raise awareness about local seafood.
Thai workers bought and sold by brokers, kept away from their families and chained up on overcrowded boats without adequate food or water made ripples around the globalized shrimp market, according to The Guardian. The report momentarily jarred attention away from a debate in the United States over the sustainability and environmental friendliness of Gulf of Mexico shrimpers.
The report tied the shrimp to mega-retailers Costco and Walmart, as well as international food stores Carrefour and Tesco. The Guardian reported a day later that the U.S. State Department is reviewing the alleged slave labor practices and will consider prohibiting shrimp imports from that country.
For local seafood advocates, like shrimper and shrimp processor Kim Chauvin, the news comes as a breath of fresh air amidst an onslaught of negative press aimed at Gulf of Mexico shrimpers.
“It's disgusting to see that that's going on and our government continues to give them subsidies. They are sitting here and acting like they have our best interest at heart.” Chauvin said.