Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

4 Best Places to Buy Your Seafood

Food
4 Best Places to Buy Your Seafood

The global fishing industry can be a slimy business, and not simply for its slippery product. Commercial boats supplying fish to U.S. supermarkets often operate in international waters, away from legal scrutiny or in countries with few regulations and scant enforcement. Greenpeace’s 2015 Carting Away the Oceans report, released Tuesday, finds that major seafood retailers need to do more to combat cruel working conditions and unsustainable fishing practices throughout their supply chain.

“Investigations continue to reveal that slavery and human rights abuses are widespread problems in the global seafood industry,” said Greenpeace Senior Oceans Campaigner David Pinsky. “Ultimately, the buck stops with the supermarkets that sell seafood associated with forced labor or human rights abuses, and it’s simply unacceptable that none have made it a priority.”

In March, the Associated Press documented the plight of migrant workers from Myanmar who were trafficked through Thailand and forced to fish off the coast of Indonesia. The laborers described working up to 22 hour days, subsisting on mere spoonfuls of rice, receiving little or no pay, and incurring beatings when they complained. The news agency traced the slave-caught seafood to U.S. markets, noting, “entire supply chains are muddied, and money is trickling down the line to companies that benefit from slave labor.”

Worker abuse goes hand-in-hand with unsustainable fishing, warns Greenpeace, which has singled out the canned tuna industry as culpable for the most egregious fishing practices. These include the use of large nets that capture and harm vulnerable species such as sea turtles and birds. These animals, known as bycatch, can compose as much as 35 percent of any given net. Sharks caught in tuna nets are often de-finned and thrown back in the ocean.

The Greenpeace report accesses the U.S.’s 25 most popular seafood retailers in terms of steps they have taken to ensure the products they sell are healthy for oceans and are sourced from boats where workers are treated justly. Each of the supermarkets profiled needs to do more according to the report, though Greenpeace placed Whole Foods, Wegmans, Hy-Vee and Safeway in it’s “good” category this year.

Read page 1

The advocacy group noted that the four retailers have implemented policies to address illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and are working with trade associations and nongovernmental organizations to identify further solutions. Southeastern Grocers, Roundy’s, Publix, A&P and Save Mart received a failing grade from Greenpeace, for refusing to ensure that slave labor and unsustainable fishing have been weeded out from the seafood products on their shelves.

This year’s Carting Away the Oceans report comes on the heels of a shoppers guide Greenpeace published in March in which it ranked the fishing practices of 14 leading canned tuna brands. Only three brands—Wild Planet, Ocean Naturals, and American Tuna—were found to be sustainable. Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea and Starkist were the worst environmental offenders.

Greenpeace’s David Pinksy said supermarkets that carry these brands are complicit in environmentally destructive fishing practices. “Many of those same retailers sell unsustainable tuna under their own brand names, and have either no policy or an inadequate policy to solve this problem,” he said.

Retailers who do not offer ocean safe tuna through their house brands include Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons-Safeway, Publix, Delhaize and Meijer. However, Greenpeace notes that since the 2014 annual edition of Carting Away the Ocean, Costco and Target have introduced ocean safe canned tuna lines, and Giant Eagle has instituted a more sustainable canned tuna sourcing policy.

Greenpeace also looked at retailers’ support for preserving the Bering Sea, which supplies more than half the seafood consumed in the U.S. but where indiscriminate trawling by industrial boats has reduced populations of crab, perch and pollock to lows that threatening the biodiversity and long-term productivity of the region. Over the past year, Whole Foods, Wegmans, Giant Eagle, Costco, Roundy’s and Southeastern Grocers have expressed commitments to protecting the Bering Sea.

The environmental group has called for a national day of action for seafood awareness on July 25. The group intends to target Walmarts nationwide, demanding the world's largest retailer do more to ensure its seafood products are sustainable and that workers are treated respectfully.

The National Fisheries Institute (NFI), a trade association representing about 75 percent of U.S. seafood firms, has defended the bycatch fishing method, insisting that using a pole and a line to catch the fish would increase the industry's carbon footprint by more than four times the amount of fuel per tuna caught and that it would also drive up the cost of the fish for consumers. Gavin Gibbons, the group’s spokesman also expressed regret at revelations that slave-caught fish were arriving in U.S. supermarkets. “These type of things flourish in the shadows,” he told the Associated Press.

“The tuna industry is particularly destructive—both for industry workers and the oceans we depend on,” concluded Pinsky. "For the health of the oceans and the people that bring food to our tables, this must change."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Will Seafood Soon Disappear From the Menu?

What’s the Beef with the U.S./China Chicken Deal?

10 Foods Banned in Other Parts of the World, But Not in America

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

This image of the Santa Monica Mountains in California shows how a north-facing slope (left) can be covered in white-blooming hoaryleaf ceanothus (Ceanothus crassifolius), while the south-facing slope (right) is much less sparsely covered in a completely different plant. Noah Elhardt / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.5

By Mark Mancini

If weather is your mood, climate is your personality. That's an analogy some scientists use to help explain the difference between two words people often get mixed up.

Read More Show Less
Flames from the Lake Fire burn on a hillside near a fire truck and other vehicles on Aug. 12, 2020 in Lake Hughes, California. Mario Tama / Getty Images

An "explosive" wildfire ignited in Los Angeles county Wednesday, growing to 10,000 acres in a little less than three hours.

Read More Show Less
Although heat waves rarely get the attention that hurricanes do, they kill far more people per year in the U.S. and abroad. greenaperture / Getty Images

By Jeff Berardelli

Note: This story was originally published on August 6, 2020

If asked to recall a hurricane, odds are you'd immediately invoke memorable names like Sandy, Katrina or Harvey. You'd probably even remember something specific about the impact of the storm. But if asked to recall a heat wave, a vague recollection that it was hot during your last summer vacation may be about as specific as you can get.

Read More Show Less

A film by Felix Nuhr.

Thailand has a total population of 5,000 elephants. But of that number, 3,000 live in captivity, carrying tourists on their backs and offering photo opportunities made for social media.

Read More Show Less
Scientists have found a way to use bricks as batteries, meaning that buildings may one day be used to store and generate power. Public Domain Pictures

One of the challenges of renewable power is how to store clean energy from the sun, wind and geothermal sources. Now, a new study and advances in nanotechnology have found a method that may relieve the burden on supercapacitor storage. This method turns bricks into batteries, meaning that buildings themselves may one day be used to store and generate power, Science Times reported.

Bricks are a preferred building tool for their durability and resilience against heat and frost since they do not shrink, expand or warp in a way that compromises infrastructure. They are also reusable. What was unknown, until now, is that they can be altered to store electrical energy, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.

The scientists behind the study figured out a way to modify bricks in order to use their iconic red hue, which comes from hematite, an iron oxide, to store enough electricity to power devices, Gizmodo reported. To do that, the researchers filled bricks' pores with a nanofiber made from a conducting plastic that can store an electrical charge.

The first bricks they modified stored enough of a charge to power a small light. They can be charged in just 13 minutes and hold 10,000 charges, but the challenge is getting them to hold a much larger charge, making the technology a distant proposition.

If the capacity can be increased, researchers believe bricks can be used as a cheap alternative to lithium ion batteries — the same batteries used in laptops, phones and tablets.

The first power bricks are only one percent of a lithium-ion battery, but storage capacity can be increased tenfold by adding materials like metal oxides, Julio D'Arcy, a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who contributed to the paper and was part of the research team, told The Guardian. But only when the storage capacity is scaled up would bricks become commercially viable.

"A solar cell on the roof of your house has to store electricity somewhere and typically we use batteries," D'Arcy told The Guardian. "What we have done is provide a new 'food-for-thought' option, but we're not there yet.

"If [that can happen], this technology is way cheaper than lithium ion batteries," D'Arcy added. "It would be a different world and you would not hear the words 'lithium ion battery' again."

Aerial view of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Gamboa, Panama, where a new soil study was held, on Sept. 11, 2019. LUIS ACOSTA / AFP via Getty Images

One of the concerns about a warming planet is the feedback loop that will emerge. That is, as the planet warms, it will melt permafrost, which will release trapped carbon and lead to more warming and more melting. Now, a new study has shown that the feedback loop won't only happen in the nether regions of the north and south, but in the tropics as well, according to a new paper in Nature.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods speaks during a press conference after a shooting at Forest High School on April 20, 2018 in Ocala, Florida. Gerardo Mora / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

A sheriff in Florida is under fire for deciding Tuesday to ban his deputies from wearing face masks while on the job—ignoring the advice of public health experts about the safety measures that everyone should take during the coronavirus pandemic as well as the rising Covid-19 death toll in his county and state.

Read More Show Less