As the spread of the novel coronavirus disrupts business as usual across the country, food producers of all kinds are turning to the government for the help they say they need to stay afloat through the pandemic. From fishermen to produce growers to brewers, companies and organizations are lining up for federal aid as policymakers argue about the coming stimulus for small businesses.(No paywall)
More than a third of migrant fishermen working in Thailand over the past five years have been victims of trafficking, and three-quarters of them have been in “debt bondage, working to pay off an obligation,” said Reuters, citing a new study by the anti-trafficking group International Justice Mission.
Fish species could shrink in size by as much as 30 percent thanks to climate change, says a study in the journal Global Change Biology. “Fish, as cold-blooded animals, cannot regulate their own body temperatures. When ocean waters become warmer, a fish’s metabolism accelerates, and it needs more oxygen to sustain its body functions,” says Nexus Media.
As two-thirds of marine species off the Northeast coast adjust their range due to rising ocean temperatures, fishermen are frustrated by outdated catch regulations, says The New York Times. “Lobster, once a staple in southern New England, have decamped to Maine. Black sea bass, scup, yellowtail flounder, mackerel, herring and monkfish, to name just a few species, have all moved to accommodate changing temperatures,” says the Times.
California is cracking down on illegal fishing in marine protected areas (MPAs) with a new ticketing system, says the LA Times. Previously, fishing in an MPA was considered a misdemeanor and subject to a large fine, which made authorities hesitant to approach someone who may not have even realized they were fishing in an off-limits zone. Now, game wardens hand out tickets worth a few hundred dollars that are payable in local traffic court, says the Times.
In Gazi Bay, Kenya, a carbon-credit program is saving mangrove forests by encouraging fishermen to cash in instead of cutting down trees. As part of the Mikoko Pamoja (Mangroves Together) program, “[l]ocal people who are protecting and replanting mangroves are now selling 3,000 tonnes of carbon credits a year to international buyers, for about $5-$6 a tonne," says Reuters.
Federal investigators say they haven’t found much evidence to back up claims of labor abuse on Hawaiian fishing boats, reports Civil Beat. The officials started interviewing foreign workers after an Associated Press investigation revealed human trafficking, egregious pay and abusive working conditions for the Southeast Asian men who make up the majority of Hawaii’s fishing fleet crews.
Many fishermen rely on an inefficient paper-based systems to record their catches, meaning the data are often inaccurate or purposefully corrupted, said a panel on seafood traceability at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sustainable Food Institute in Monterey, Calif.
Dungeness crab is one of the most valuable commercial fisheries on the U.S. West Coast, worth nearly $170 million in Washington, Oregon, and California in 2014, a short film on Yale Environment 360 says, but the fishery is also threatened. As acidifying waters alter the chemistry of the world’s oceans, scientists and fishermen are just beginning to understand how this economically, culturally, and ecologically important species will be impacted.