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Seafood industry: Slave labour & environmental destruction?

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"I don’t want slave labour and destruction of the ocean mixed in with my prawn cocktail," widely read UK news site concludes in investigative journalism article. 

A prawn cocktail, a popular seafood dish before the main course (Source: Wikipedia)

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Sea Food Industry

Thai shrimp farming industry under fire

18 Mar 2013

Shrimp farmers sort out their produce in Prachuap Khiri Khan's Sam Roi Yod district in this file photo from 2010. Photo by Chaiwat Sardyaem

Thailand’s multi-billion dollar shrimp industry has been fiercely criticised in an article published by one of the world’s most popular news websites... Britain's MailOnline.

Thailand produced approximately 540,000 tonnes of shrimp in 2012 and is the world’s biggest exporter, with annual sales worth between 3- and 4-billion US dollars (88-118bn baht).

The report, published on Saturday, claims that Thailand’s prawn industry is manned by slave labour and is destroying marine life and the environment

Wickens claims to have gone undercover to witness the faults of Thailand’s shrimp industry, going to unusual lengths to gain access to fishing trawlers.

"My technique for getting aboard was a dangerous one,” journalist Jim Wickens wrote.

More than once I had to throw myself into the sea so that a passing trash fish boat was obliged to ‘rescue’ me.

Wickens wrote that he saw the devastation that deep-sea fishing trawlers cause to marine life as they scoop up everything in their path in the hunt for valuable prawns.

"From my vantage point on deck, I saw how this grisly industry operates at first hand. Every few hours, a whistle would sound and a net would be hauled up from the depths, raised above the deck and, on a signal from the captain, the contents spilled out,” he wrote

Panicked marine creatures including sea snakes, baby octopus, sea horses, puffer fish and pretty pink crabs would scurry across the deck, only to be crushed underfoot and shovelled up into a heap before being thrown into the hold.

Wickens claims that human trafficking is a problem in the Thai shrimp fishing industry, with “often enslaved crews” from neighbouring countries, “who are tricked into coming to Thailand by the false promise of generous wages,” working on boats under terrible conditions.

"While on board, I discovered that trafficked labourers from Burma and Cambodia are forced to work 20 hours a day, seven days a week, on boats where they are often beaten, abused, even killed by unscrupulous skippers,” Wickens wrote

These men suffer appalling treatment — some even dying on ship and having their bodies tossed casually overboard — just so we can taste king prawns in a lunchtime sandwich or Friday night curry.

One crewman I spoke to had been shot at four times and had seen at least one crewmate killed. These desperate men are dying unnoticed, far out at sea, hundreds of miles from their homes and family.”...

Wickens also wrote of his concern about the deforestation of mangroves to make way for industrial size prawn farms...

...almost a fifth of the world’s mangrove ecosystems have disappeared over the previous 30 years, while the UN Environment Programme estimates that at least a quarter of all mangroves that have been destroyed are directly linked to prawn farming.

"In Britain, we consume about 85,000 tonnes of prawns a year, two-thirds of which are warm-water prawns like those farmed in Thailand. The trade is worth £450 million (20bn baht) in Britain alone,” Wickens wrote...

...Wickens concludes that the only solution “is to stop eating warm-water king prawns altogether. 

"I, for one, don’t want slave labour and the destruction of the ocean mixed in with my prawn cocktail,” he stated. “Do you?"

(Source: Bangkok Post, Sea Food Industry, Thai shrimp farming industry under fire, 18 Mar 2013, link


Sea Food Industry Vocabulary

journalist - a person who specialises in gathering and publishing information about news and current events, trends, issues, and people, striving for balance and a variety of viewpoints นักข่าว (See Wikipedia)

journalism - the gathering, writing and public presentation of the news: "the preparation of written, visual, or audio material ... through public media with reference to factual, ongoing events of public concern. .... to inform society about itself and to make public, things that would otherwise be private" วารสารศาสตร์ (See Wikipedia)

investigative journalism - journalism that involves researching and uncovering new information and deeply investigating crime, political corruption, or corporate wrongdoing, much like a detective the journalist gathers information fron interviews and searching through documents (See Wikipedia)

sea food - fish and other animals from the sea such as prawns or shellfish (clams, oysters) eaten as food อาหารทะเล (See Wikipedia)
sea food industry

marine - relating to the sea and creatures that live in it เกี่ยวกับทะเล
marine life
marine creatures - animals that live in the sea

prawn - a large shrimp กุ้ง
prawn farming -
(See Wikipedia)

prawn farms
industrial size prawn farms

cocktail - mixture การผสมกัน
prawn cocktail - a shrimp cocktail, a seafood dish consisting of  shelled prawns in mayonnaise and tomato dressing, served in a glass, eaten before the main course (See Wikipedia)

environment - the natural world of land, sea, plants, and animals
destroying marine life and the environment

slave
- a person owned by another person (not a worker free to leave when they want) ทาส
slave labour -
unfree labour, workers doing some bad job who are not free to leave their job (See Wikipedia)

destruction - when something is damaged so badly, it does not exist anymore การทำลาย, ภาวะที่ถูกทำลาย
the destruction of the ocean

"I, for one, don’t want slave labour and the destruction of the ocean mixed in with my prawn cocktail,” he stated. “Do you?"

sort out - organise (to pick things out and put in them in separate groups)
Shrimp farmers sort out their produce in Prachuap Khiri Khan's Sam Roi Yod district in this file photo from 2010. Photo by Chaiwat Sardyaem

under fire - being criticized, people are finding problems and bad things and blaming the industry
Thai shrimp farming industry under fire

fiercely - very strongly อย่างรุนแรง, อย่างดุเดือด
fiercely criticised

Thailand’s multi-billion dollar shrimp industry has been fiercely criticised in an article published by one of the world’s most popular news websites... Britain's MailOnline.

annual - during one year or happening once a year ประจำปี
annual sales

Thailand produced approximately 540,000 tonnes of shrimp in 2012 and is the world’s biggest exporter, with annual sales worth between 3- and 4-billion US dollars (88-118bn baht).

man - operate something (man a ship, man a machine gun, man artillery) 
manned by slave labour

The report, published on Saturday, claims that Thailand’s prawn industry is manned by slave labour and is destroying marine life and the environment

witness (noun) - a person who sees something happen (such as a crime) ผู้ที่เห็นเหตุการณ์ พยานในเหตุการณ์
witness (verb) - to see something happen

undercover - working secretly using a false appearance in order to get information for the police or government ลึกลับ,ลี้ลับ,ทำอย่างลับ
go undercover to witness ....

faults - problems (things that could be improved)
the faults of Thailand’s shrimp industry

access - the right or opportunity to get, have or use something ได้รับสิทธิ์หรือโอกาสในการใช้
gain access to

fishing trawlers - fishing boats

going to unusual lengths - doing difficult things (to achieve your goals)
going to unusual lengths to gain access to fishing trawlers.

Wickens claims to have gone undercover to witness the faults of Thailand’s shrimp industry, going to unusual lengths to gain access to fishing trawlers.

getting aboard - getting on a ship
"My technique for getting aboard was a dangerous one,” journalist Jim Wickens wrote.

obliged - required to do something ต้องทำ ต้องทำตามคำร้อง
rescue - to save someone form a dangerous or unpleasant situation ช่วยชีวิต

obliged to rescue - they had to rescue him
a passing fishing boat was obliged to rescue me

"More than once I had to throw myself into the sea so that a passing trash fish boat was obliged to ‘rescue’ me.

devastation - destruction (damage, injury, death)
the devastation that deep-sea fishing trawlers cause to marine life

scoop up - gather things together with the hands, a spoon
they scoop up everything in their path

shovel up - Same as "scoop up" (like what a "shovel" does)

valuable - worth a lot of money มีค่า
valuable prawns
the hunt for valuable prawns

Wickens wrote that he saw the devastation that deep-sea fishing trawlers cause to marine life as they scoop up everything in their path in the hunt for valuable prawns.

vantage point - a good place to see something happening
deck of a ship - the outdoor area of a ship (that runs around the outside)

on deck - standing on a ship (on the outside area that goes around a ship)
my vantage point on deck

at first hand - when a person sees or does something themself (not just hearing about it from others)
see it at first hand


grisly - involving death or violence in a shock way; very unpleasant to look at because it involves death or violence น่ากลัว,น่าขนลุก,น่าเขย่าขวัญ
this grisly industry
I saw how this grisly industry operates at first hand

contents - what is inside something จำนวนของสิ่งที่บรรจุอยู่
"From my vantage point on deck, I saw how this grisly industry operates at first hand. Every few hours, a whistle would sound and a net would be hauled up from the depths, raised above the deck and, on a signal from the captain, the contents spilled out,” he wrote

panicked - becoming suddenly very afraid when something dangerous happens ความตื่นตกใจ, ความตกใจกลัว
panicked marine creatures

scurry - run like a rat; to move quickly, with small short steps รีบจ้ำอ้าวไปยัง
scurry across the deck - run like a rat across the deck of a ship
panicked marine creatures scurry across the deck

crushed - defeated using force or violence ปราบให้ราบคาบด้วยกำลังทหาร
crushed underfoot

a heap - a large pile of something (usually a messy untidy pile), a stack กอง กองสิ่งของที่ทับถมกัน
shovelled up into a heap

the hold - the big area in a ship or airplane where goods or bags are stored while transported from one place to another
thrown into the hold

Panicked marine creatures including sea snakes, baby octopus, sea horses, puffer fish and pretty pink crabs would scurry across the deck, only to be crushed underfoot and shovelled up into a heap before being thrown into the hold.

generous - giving more than is normal or expected
wages - the amount of money earned per hour by a worker

Wickens claims that human trafficking is a problem in the Thai shrimp fishing industry, with “often enslaved crews” from neighbouring countries, “who are tricked into coming to Thailand by the false promise of generous wages,” working on boats under terrible conditions.

board - to get onto a ship, aircraft, train, or bus ขึ้น(เรือ รถเมล์ รถไฟ เครื่องบิน)
unscrupulous - behaving in a way that is dishonest or unfair in order to get what you want ที่ไม่ซื่อสัตย์  ที่ผิดกฎหมาย
skipper - the captain of a boat  กัปตัน

"While on board, I discovered that trafficked labourers from Burma and Cambodia are forced to work 20 hours a day, seven days a week, on boats where they are often beaten, abused, even killed by unscrupulous skippers,” Wickens wrote

appalling - shocking, horrifying ซึ่งทำให้ตกใจ
treatment -  the way that people deal with another person (their actions and behaviour towards them) การกระทำ, การปฏิบัติ
appalling treatment

suffer - to experience physical or mental pain
suffer appalling treatment

toss - throw something
toss casually - throw (without seriousness, not even looking where you throw it)

overboard - off of a ship near the ship in the water
tossed casually overboard
tossed overboard casually
dying on ship and having their bodies tossed casually overboard

These men suffer appalling treatment — some even dying on ship and having their bodies tossed casually overboard — just so we can taste king prawns in a lunchtime sandwich or Friday night curry.

crewmate - one the people working with someone on a ship
had seen at least one crewmate killed

desperate - in a bad situation and will try anything to get out of the situation อย่างสิ้นหวัง อย่างหมดหวัง
desperate men
these desperate men are dying unnoticed, far out at sea

One crewman I spoke to had been shot at four times and had seen at least one crewmate killed. These desperate men are dying unnoticed, far out at sea, hundreds of miles from their homes and family.”...

mangrove - mangrove forest ป่าชายเลน, ต้นไม้จำพวกโกงกาง
deforestation - cutting down lots of trees in the forest
the deforestation of mangroves

concern - a worry ความกังวล
wrote of his concern about...

Wickens also wrote of his concern about the deforestation of mangroves to make way for industrial size prawn farms...

ecosystem -  ระบบที่เกิดจากความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างสิ่งมีชีวิตและสิ่งแวดล้อม
mangrove ecosystem

estimates - guesses of what the size, value, amount, cost, etc. of something might be การประมาณค่า
linked - connected เชื่อมโยง เกี่ยวกับ

...almost a fifth of the world’s mangrove ecosystems have disappeared over the previous 30 years, while the UN Environment Programme estimates that at least a quarter of all mangroves that have been destroyed are directly linked to prawn farming.

consume - to use a supply of something ใช้จนหมดไป
trade - business; the buying and selling of goods การค้าขาย

"In Britain, we consume about 85,000 tonnes of prawns a year, two-thirds of which are warm-water prawns like those farmed in Thailand. The trade is worth £450 million (20bn baht) in Britain alone,” Wickens wrote...


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