If you like shrimp but don’t want to put your money towards a product that was caught or grown under abusive conditions, the below guide will helpful to consider the next time you go to the grocery store or order an appetizer at your favorite seafood restaurant.
A recent six-month investigation by the Guardian found slaves working for no pay on Thai fishing boats, catching fish that is used as feed on shrimp farms. Workers who managed to escape from these boats spoke of 20-hour shifts, regular beatings, torture, and execution-style killings. Some were given methamphetamines to keep them going.
Beyond these human rights concern, there are a number of environmental problems that effect fish farms, including the waste generated on them and resulting run-off, as well as the wide use of antibiotics.
The NRDC put together a helpful list to decrease the impact of your shrimp consumption:
- Eat less shrimp! The Worldwatch Institute estimates that for every 1,000 people who stop eating shrimp, we can save more than 5.4 tons of sea life per year.
- Replace your industrial shrimp purchases with Henry Lisa’s Natural Seafood (Ecofish’s retail brand) available at 3500 stores nationwide, including Whole Foods and Target Superstores.
- Seek out the blue Marine Stewardship Council ecolabel, which indicates sustainable practices, when shopping or dining out. Here’s a list of stores and restaurants that stock MSC-certified products.
- When buying wild-caught shrimp, look for varieties from the Pacific coast, particularly Oregon and British Columbia.
- Ask your favorite restaurants and stores what kind of shrimp they are stocking, and if you’re not satisfied with their answer, let them know!