www.huffingtonpost.co.uk - September 20th, 2012
A disturbing new investigation by the Ecologist has shone a light on the appalling labour conditions experienced by some Burmese migrants working onboard Thai fishing boats.
The investigation - carried out by the Ecologist Film Unit in conjunction with Link TV and SwedWatch - has linked the problem to boats supplying so-called 'trash fish' for use in the manufacture of fish feed given to farmed prawns - or shrimp - that are cultivated in Thailand before being exported and consumed by diners across the world.
As many as 250,000 Burmese migrants work within the Thai fishing industry. Investigators found evidence that some of those working onboard fishing vessels operating in the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea suffer brutal exploitation during long periods at sea, enduring cramped - and potentially dangerous - working and living conditions.
Burmese migrants interviewed by the Ecologist for the film Grinding Nemo said they had suffered from malnutrition and been beaten if they made mistakes whilst sorting fish. One said he had witnessed a fellow crew member being executed whilst at sea: 'The captain took his gun and shot him until he fell off the boat. He fell in the gap between the two boats. He didn't die right away, he tried to come up, but the captain just gave him another shot until he sank away... I've seen this happen twice.'
The findings are just the latest in a series of disturbing exposés highlighting the unsavoury nature of the global shrimp industry, which continues to re-brand itself as 'sustainable' and 'ethical'.