Modern-Day Slavery
Slavery In Your Seafood



  

Despite the country’s tagline, New Zealand’s catch is far from “100% Pure,” and some of the world’s largest corporations have sold the products of brutality to unknowing American consumers.

The indentured men fishing in New Zealand’s waters remain 6,500 miles away from American consumers, but the seafood they catch is sold across the world, including in the United States.

Schuster Institute Senior Fellow E. Benjamin Skinner and Bloomberg Businessweek tell the story of how the ill-gotten catch may wind up on your plate.

Photo | Ministry of Fisheries, New Zealand

If you’re wandering through the seafood department at your grocery store, you might notice a sustainability label. With these seals of approval, buyers gain confidence that their fish has been responsibly caught and harvested—from an ocean across the world to their local stores.

But what does a sustainability policy tell us about the people who bring these fish to our plates? These labels address environmental concerns, not the labor practices aboard fishing vessels and in processing plants.

Boats bearing other countries’ flags, called Foreign-Chartered Vessels (FCVs), have been legally fishing in New Zealand’s waters for more than 30 years.

Schuster Institute Senior Fellow E. Benjamin Skinner and Bloomberg Businessweek found evidence of slavery on some of the FCVs that had longstanding ties to New Zealand companies.

On May 21, 2012, the New Zealand Industries and Labour ministries announced that foreign-flagged vessels will no longer be able to fish in New Zealand’s waters, effectively prohibiting the arrangements between New Zealand fishing companies and foreign-chartered vessels discussed in “The Fishing Industry's Cruelest Catch” and other reports.

 Modern-Day Slavery

Foreign-Chartered

Vessels:

The Controversy

Slavery at Sea

The Bloomberg Businessweek article "The Fishing Industry's Cruelest Catch," a six-month, three-continent investigation by Schuster Institute Senior Fellow E. Benjamin Skinner, ignited responses from retailers and seafood companies, as well as the New Zealand and American press.

See selected TV, radio, print coverage, and commentary related to the investigation.​

Modern-Day Slavery
Corporate Responsibility in the Seafood Industry

Photo | Ministry of Fisheries, New Zealand 

Photo | Slave Free Seas

Photo | Ministry of Fisheries, New Zealand