FishPhone and Human Trafficking
If you’re at all in tune with the sustainable food movement, you might know about FishPhone, a super-cool program that allows consumers to connect with Blue Ocean Institute’s (BOI) criteria for sustainably-harvested fish. Live from the seafood counter, you can employ the iPhone app or simply text in the name of a fish with instant feedback on its BOI ranking. BOI assesses each fish on a point system, taking into consideration things like natural abundance, habitat quality and ecological impact. The whole point of FishPhone is to help consumers make choices that are best for their health, the earth and the seafood they wish to purchase.
But what about the people who harvest those fish? I want to know that my seafood purchases are as earth-friendly as possible, yes – but I also, absolutely, want to know if they are people-friendly as well. I want know for certain that an enslaved child in Thailand wasn’t physically abused and deprived of sleep to put that fish in my grocery cart. I want to know that my bag of frozen shrimp wasn’t filled by a kid in Bangladesh who, instead of going to school and having a proper childhood, earned maybe $.40 toward his bonded debt. Don’t you?
That’s why BOI, with its existing talents and resources for tracking sustainable seafood, should consider partnering with a human-rights organization and incorporating a scale of human exploitation into its FishPhone criteria. How about it, BOI? It’s not too often that consumers have a good, solid resource for tracking modern-day slavery within supply chains. BOI has such a good beat on what’s happening in the seafood industry, why not expand its repertoire to include anti-human trafficking efforts as well?
It can’t hurt to ask. Please sign, share and let BOI know of our interest in seafood that is conscious of both sustainability and human rights.
Photo credit: leoburke
However, I also care about human-rights abuses in the fishing industry. Environmentally-unfriendly fish-farming practices and human exploitation, including child labor and debt-bondage scenarios, often go hand-in-hand, in many places throughout the world. When I purchase seafood, I want to know that it was farmed and harvested in a sustainable way, but also with hands that were not enslaved.
I feel that Blue Ocean Institute, with its existing resources and talents, should consider partnering with one or more human-rights organizations and incorporating anti-human trafficking efforts into its criteria for FishPhone. Marrying the two concepts of sustainability and human rights could be a groundbreaking move for supply-chain transparency in not only the seafood industry, but other industries as well. If anyone could pull off an innovative concept such as this one, it would be the creators of FishPhone. In promoting ideals for an ethical sea, please consider increasing consumer consciousness of human trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery, as well.
Thank you for your time and consideration.