A Rights Group said this past week that decades of over-fishing and international demand for cheap seafood is driving Thai boats to continually turn to slave labour as fishermen flee worsening working conditions in the country.
Thai waters are one of the most over-fished regions in the world – statistics show that Thai boats now catch just 14% of what they caught in the 1960s, this according to the London-based Environment Justice Foundation.
To remain profitable, boats are forced to stay at sea much long and go much further then ever before. Some unregistered “pirate” boats are fishing the waters of numerous other countries, driving fuel demands while creating modern-day slavery issues.
As the fisherman flee the boats, catches decline even further – giving way to rising costs and a host of other issues.
“Producers and consumers of Thai seafood are embroiled in one of the most outragous social and ecological crimes of the 21st century,” said EJF director Steve Trent. “Ecosystem decline and slavery exist in a vicious cycle,” he added.
Thailand is the third largest seafood exporter in the world today – in 2013 their seafood export alone was valued at $7 billion.