Slave labour in the tuna industry
What would you say if you were told slaves caught your tuna? Sounds absurd doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, it’s all too real. Working conditions aboard fishing vessels are among the worst in the world, and that includes tuna boats.
Depending on what part of what ocean they’re in, vessels can operate without scrutiny, leading to a nasty cocktail of problems for workers. From low or unpaid wages, inadequate food, clean water and sanitation, lack of safety equipment and long working hours, to forced labour, human trafficking and even murder at sea, the situation is dire for many working in the industry.
The resulting human misery often stays hidden, with little or no opportunity for crews to seek help or escape. In some cases, men are forced to remain at sea for months (or even years) at a time.
Vessel operators with little regard for labour laws tend to also lack a regard for the environment or fisheries management regulations. Hence labour abuse at sea often goes hand-in-hand with illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing
The picture is bad for both workers and our oceans.
How do we fix it? This report provides lots of good solutions. It has a clear list of what all market players need to do to ensure human rights are not being violated at sea.
As a tuna consumer, there are things you can do to help. Greenpeace’s canned tuna guides are a great tool to help you avoid tuna linked with slavery.