Today, we’re releasing five new video testimonials from Pacific tuna fishermen detailing the horrible conditions they’ve worked under. The interviews—conducted in a South Pacific port earlier this year—reveal incidents of abuse, inadequate or nonexistent pay, food and sleep deprivation, and even murder.
We heard first-hand from current and former tuna fisherman about the shocking abuse they've witnessed and endured working on fishing vessels. Photo credit: Greenpeace
As investigation after investigation after investigation continue to expose the poor state of the fishing industry, it’s becoming more clear than ever that American consumers can’t trust the seafood they feed their families. In the case of these particular fisherman, the horrific human rights abuses at sea are directly connected to the tuna industry, confirming that tuna companies have major work to do in order to clean up their supply chains and win back the trust of consumers.
Watch These Stories of Abuse at Sea
Trigger warning: these videos contain descriptions of violence that may be disturbing to some viewers.
Fishermen are often subject to bullying or intimidation for speaking up, meaning the harrowing stories captured below are hard to come by.
These videos were shot in a South Pacific port earlier this year. Three of the videos feature current or recent tuna fishermen from Indonesia, whose identities have been masked for their protection. The other videos feature an unmasked fishermen from Fiji, who details abuse from his time on a tuna boat ten years ago, revealing just how long these issues have been prevalent in the industry. Many of the men our team spoke to would not go on camera for fear of retribution against themselves or their family.
“If the people above you are hitting you, then we are not being treated as humans, but more like animals.”
“It was about one and a half years we worked for nothing. No salary at all.”
“I feel sorry for my friend. He was thirsty at 1am and there wasn’t any water. So he drank water from the air conditioner.”
“I saw his fingers, they were missing. I asked what happened.”
“So you’ll have two to three hours sleep then you’ll start again in the morning.”
These brave individuals and others like them are shining a light on the long history of abuse and slavery on tuna fishing vessels. Greenpeace has worked on tuna sustainability issues for years, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that we must all work together to address the deeply ingrained human rights issues within the industry, as well.
Labor abuses and slavery that destroy the lives of workers and their families, and overfishing that destroys ocean life are both issues that stem from an out of control and under regulated industry. Greenpeace and a range of allies across the environmental and human rights movements are working to transform the tuna industry into one that is both just and sustainable.
As consumers, we should all be questioning where our tuna comes from.
In both the recent New York Times investigation and an Associated Press investigation in March, Thai Union—owner of Chicken of the Sea and soon Bumble Bee in the U.S.—was directly implicated for major human rights abuses and slavery at sea. This raises a glaring red flag that the largest tuna producer in the world has undeniable connections to this issue.
These stories—and the thousands of others like them that have gone untold—are a call to action for the tuna industry. Now more than ever, leaders must emerge to show that they take these issues seriously and are committed to addressing them in their global supply chains. There are a variety of solutions that companies and governments can begin implementing today that can address both the human rights abuses that are rampant and sustainability concerns.
Tuna fishing has become destructive for both people and the oceans—and it must be reformed immediately. Tweet at your favorite tuna company to let them know that you want them to proactively implement the solutions that will protect people and our oceans:
- Tweet at Bumble Bee: It's unacceptable that tuna fishing is linked to human rights abuses. @BumbleBeeFoods, what actions are you taking?
- Tweet at Chicken of the Sea: I'm calling on @COSMermaid to take action on human rights abuses in the tuna industry. You can too.
- Tweet at Starkist: .@StarkistCharlie, are you playing your part to address human rights abuses in the tuna industry? We deserve to know.
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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