Thursday, July 18, 2024

Report Slams India’s Shrimp Aquaculture Industry


A recent study has found human rights and environmental abuses in India’s shrimp industry.

The report, released by the Corporate Accountability Lab, looked into the practices of Indian shrimp aquaculture, a multibillion-dollar industry that relies heavily on sales to US consumers — shrimp bought in national and local supermarkets and restaurants. Shrimp is the most consumed seafood in the United States, and India is the largest shrimp supplier to the US market, providing 40.8% of all shrimp imports in 2023.

According to the report:

“This report is the culmination of three years of research and investigations into the Indian shrimp sector, examining evidence of forced labor, living and working conditions for shrimp supply chain workers, environmental impacts of the industry, and the failure of social auditing certification schemes that purport to to ensure that the shrimp sold with their imprimatur were ethically and sustainably produced.

“The current system of farmed shrimp production is not sustainable – not for workers, the environment, or – ultimately – for retailers, wholesalers, or consumers. The Indian shrimp sector is rife with discrimination, dangerous working conditions, hazardous child labor, sexual harassment, debt bondage, threats and intimidation, toxic sewage, false and misleading certification schemes, and a general lack of oversight.”

The report calls on US retailers and wholesalers to push for changes in the Indian shrimp sector, from which they buy so much product. It promotes the implementation of binding agreements between companies and independent worker organizations. Finally, it demands the US and Indian governments vigorously enforce laws meant to prohibit labor and environmental abuses, reducing the ability of companies to shirk accountability by, among other strategies, relying on failed industry-run certification schemes.

In response to the report, Oceana Campaign Director Dr. Max Valentine said:

“This report is the latest devastating example of imported seafood produced by forced labor ending up on American plates. From squid to tuna to shrimp, recent investigations show serious gaps in oversight and accountability in the seafood sector. The US is becoming a dumping ground of illegally caught or unregulated seafood that is processed using forced labor, and workers and the oceans are paying the price.

“Until all imported seafood is traced from dinner plates back to fishing nets or farms, with each step in the supply chain documented, bad actors will continue to ignore laws to increase profits. Requiring all seafood to be traced to a legal fishery and through an honest supply chain will give consumers more confidence in the seafood they eat and support businesses that follow the rules. The continued reports of forced labor in the seafood supply chain are a rallying cry for immediate action. The United States must improve seafood traceability and increase transparency at sea so that we know our seafood dinner did not come with a side of human rights abuses. Illegal fishing and forced labor should have no seat at our dinner tables.”

You can find the full report here.

John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.