Hawaiian Seafood Caught by Foreign Crews Who Are Confined on Boats

Some fishing fleets along the US West Coast rely on foreign crews confined onboard for months at a time even when the vessels are in port. Federal laws allow the immigrant labor with low wages and no labor protections for what is ranked among the most dangerous jobs in the world. “With no legal standing on U.S. soil, the men are at the mercy of their American captains on American-flagged, American-owned vessels, catching prized swordfish and ahi tuna,” report Martha Mendoza and Margie Mason for the Associated Press. “Over six months, the AP obtained confidential contracts, reviewed dozens of business records and interviewed boat owners, brokers and more than 50 fishermen in Hawaii, Indonesia and San Francisco. The investigation found men living in squalor on some boats, forced to use buckets instead of toilets, suffering running sores from bed bugs and sometimes lacking sufficient food.” The captains hold crew members’ passports and contracts can go unpaid. Regulators monitor vessels to protect fish stocks and describe “floating prisons.” Captains and stores tout products as locally caught with good labor practices, but accountability is lacking. – YaleGlobal

Hawaiian Seafood Caught by Foreign Crews Who Are Confined on Boats

AP investigation: US law allows low wages, harsh conditions and crews of undocumented workers for West Coast fishing fleets – with little accountability
Martha Mendoza and Margie Mason
Friday, September 16, 2016

 Associated Press writer Niniek Karmini contributed to this report from Jakarta, Indonesia.

© 2015 and 2016 The Associated Press

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