I’ve been following the work of author Ian Urbina and the Outlaw Ocean Project for many years. If you are unfamiliar, the Outlaw Ocean Project is a non-profit journalism organization based in Washington D.C. that produces investigative stories about human rights, labor, and environmental concerns that take place in oceans around the world.
In October, The New Yorker magazine published this compelling and heartbreaking story by Urbina entitled: “The Crimes behind the Seafood You Eat” and, if you haven’t read it yet, I urge you to carve out a half hour to sit with a hot beverage and read.
Urbina’s bravery leads him to expose horrific human rights abuses at sea that are part of bringing industrial global seafood to our plates. Anyone who cares about the sea and human rights really must read this article and get a glimpse into the injustices in our seafood system. The article is full of personal stories, engaging graphics, shocking video clips, and hard facts that expose the harsh and shocking realities of a global industry rife with social and environmental abuses.
This past October, I attended the annual conference of the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions in San Juan Puerto Rico where the work of the Outlaw Ocean Project was front and centre in the minds of all the attendees. This conference brought together leaders from sustainable seafood NGOs from around the world – organizations which have historically omitted social impacts from their seafood recommendation and verification programs. Shocking, I know! Just as the Outlaw Ocean project highlights, Skipper Otto has been making their same argument for over 15 years – that you cannot separate social justice from environmental impact when it comes to recommending seafood as being a responsible and sustainable choice.
Urbina’s recent New Yorker article and the surrounding discussions at the Conservation Alliance conference were a powerful reminder why we do the work we do at Skipper Otto, to create direct relationships between Canadian seafood harvesters and home cooks and provide much needed transparency about the seafood you are purchasing. There is no more compelling reason to buy local seafood directly from fishing families than the certainty that your dollars are supporting living wages and protecting a dignified way of life in our coastal and Indigenous communities.
We hope you’ll read and share this article with family and friends and encourage them to buy seafood directly from local seafood harvesters or by connecting to them through a Community Supported Fishery like Skipper Otto.
Further notes: There is also a great podcast by the Outlaw Ocean Project, that can be found here LINK
Written by: Sonia Strobel
Sonia - November 30, 2023
Outlaw Ocean Article: The Crimes Behind the Seafood You Eat
Sonia - November 30, 2023