Home杭州桑拿 › Foreign prawns linked with human trafficking and environmental havoc, says Greenpeace

Foreign prawns linked with human trafficking and environmental havoc, says Greenpeace

Hawkesbury River fisherman Gary Howard catching school prawns using low impact methods. Among the best rated by Greenpeace are these prawns from the Hawkesbury. Photo: Greenpeace/James Alcock Gary Howard trawls for school prawns using inshore trawl and static nets. Photo: Greenpeace/James Alcock

They might be cheap and perfect for a Christmas feast, but shoppers are being urged to do their research and avoid buying imported prawns linked with human trafficking, environmental damage and spread of disease.

A new report and prawn shopping guide from activist group Greenpeace shows one of the worst choices is the vannamei prawn that is pond-farmed in Vietnam, China and Thailand.

At present, cooked and frozen vannamei prawns are the cheapest option at $19 a kilo at Coles’ online shop.

But the production of these non-native, fast-growing prawns in ‘s top three prawn supplier countries is linked with human trafficking and slavery, destruction of mangroves, spread of disease and chemical and antibiotic use, according to multiple United Nations’ International Labour Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization reports.

Greenpeace’s oceans campaigner Nathaniel Pelle said weak seafood labelling laws made it difficult for consumers to always make ethical purchases, with restaurants and takeaways, except in NT, not required to declare the country of origin or species.

“We’re eating in the dark. There are great prawns, readily available that are responsibly farmed and caught, but there are also many dodgy prawns and you won’t know just by looking at them,” he said.

“We need rigorous national laws requiring proper seafood labelling, explaining what species we’re getting and where and how it was produced.” Trawl for the right prawn

He said the prawn guide allowed consumers to make informed decisions, dividing popular prawns into four categories – from the most responsible to the most damaging.

Among the best rated are Hawkesbury River school prawns, as well as Naturland and Blueyou-certified black tiger prawns from Vietnam.

About two-thirds of the 49,800 tonnes of prawns consumed in in 2014-15 were from overseas, according to the Department of Agriculture. The amount of imported prawns has doubled in the past 15 years.

Norman Grant, executive chairman of the Seafood Importers Association of Australasia said many of the environmental destruction, chemical use and human rights abuse problems in overseas farms were being addressed.

He said export farms and factories are regularly audited by third party certifiers to international standards – as demanded by big buyers such as Coles and Woolworths.

He said the destruction of mangrove and coastal forests had been addressed by countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, and the bigger issue was now about water quality and disease control.

He conceded there were ongoing issues with trafficked crew on fishing boats, especially in Thailand, but said big progress had been made by local authorities and NGOs.

“The situation is getting better and it is the revenue from the sale of prawns that is enabling the industry to make these massive investments in social restructuring. Boycotting these prawns, on the other hand, is simply turning away from the issue and will bring this progress to a standstill,” he said.

Gary Howard, a Hawkesbury River prawn fisherman from Lower Portland in NSW, whose school prawns are rated among the “most responsible choices” in the guide, urged shoppers to look beyond the prices and consider the livelihoods of n producers.

“We have imported prawns coming into this country for probably $5 a kilo being sold for $10 a kilo, and we want to try and get $25. The quality can be vastly superior, but at the end of the day, people are going to say, ‘Am I going to pay $10 or $25?'” he said.

“It’s because our wages are higher, our running costs are higher, our standard of living is higher, so whilst we import so much seafood into our country at cheap prices, it’s very difficult for us to compete.”

The latest seafood labelling bill, which would have required restaurants and takeaways to declare the origin and species of seafood, was shot down in the Senate in August.

The setback has not deterred sustainable seafood advocates, including Matthew Evans, chef and the face of the Label My Fish campaign, in their demands for stronger labelling laws that at least match the requirements in the European Union.

“I want to know the prawns I choose aren’t responsible for destroying mangrove habitat, indiscriminately racking the sea floor, and that they were not caught using slave or child labour,” Mr Evans said.

“We need to be able to choose sustainably farmed or caught seafood, whether we buy them from supermarkets and restaurants, or fishmongers and cafes. Labelling laws are needed now.” Seafood company pinged for dodgy packaging

The n Competition and Consumer Commission said on Tuesday it had fined major seafood company Kailis Bros $10,800 for attempting to pass off Thai prawns as n.

The company embellished the packaging with an image of the n flag, a map of , and the statement “n caught raw prawns”.

The fine print on the back said the prawns were packed and processed in Thailand. The “raw, deveined, tail off” prawns were being sold on the Woolworths website at nearly $40 a kilo.

“Consumers are often prepared to pay a premium for n made products, so any ‘n made’ representations must be accurate. Businesses cannot rely on fine print disclaimers to correct or qualify a prominent country of origin representation that is false or misleading,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

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