The days of mindlessly popping a shrimp dipped in cocktail sauce into your mouth between sips of Chardonnay at a cocktail party are decidedly over. From radioactive fish in Japan caused by the ongoing horror in Fukushima to the toxic wasteland BP has created in the Gulf of Mexico with not just the spilling of millions of gallons of oil but the deadly dispersant it used to “clean up” the spill. A brilliant piece by Vice on the BP spill (see below) explains that dispersant are not only toxic they just “hide” the spill by sinking the oil – an out of sight out of mind kind of non-solution.
Now this devastating piece of investigative journalism from the Guardian exploring the use of slave labor on the ships that provide most of the world with Shrimp. 18 minutes long you will feel like you are watching a horror movie, but you must not turn away from this grim reality. As the narrator points out, it’s only with pressure by consumers who buy shrimp which is sold at: Costco, Walmart and Tesco to mention just a few that this barbaric situation will ever change. French food chain Carrefour has stopped, temporarily, buying shrimp from CP the Thai distributor responsible for using slaves on its fishing boats.
The only shrimp I can imagine eating these days are the wild ones caught seasonally off the coast of Maine. The point that sticks in my mind that one person makes in the Guardian piece is that shrimp used to be something you ate rarely as a treat.
It’s wonderful to live in a world were everything is available and competition has made most things so cheap that not only are they always available they are also more affordable than ever before.
This convenience has a deadly price. Both in human terms and the over fishing we are doing in our increasingly toxic waters.
Time to re-think eating shrimp.