These days you eat or drink something and before you know you’re part of a destructive change of events, destroying other peoples lives and their surrounding environment. Beware the humble prawn sandwich!
On some coastlines of developing countries prawn fishing is seen by potential investors as a quicker road to riches. Local people can be kicked off their land, mangroves ripped up and child labour installed to run the farms. Chemicals are used during farming which damage the environment.
So what can you do to keep that prawn sandwich from turning into another soul destroying nightmare? Not a lot apparently.
There is little in the way of labelling to direct you to prawn companies that follow sustainable practices. The Seafish Industry Authority claims that the UK has the best practices in the world for encouraging and monitoring sustainable fisheries but in the same breath admit that consumers don’t have the luxury yet of a food labelling system to guide their purchasing decisions.
Instead you are expected to ask complicated questions of your local retailer such as;
(1) Can they ensure that prawns sold come from well-managed sources and are not linked to environmental degradation or social problems? For example, do they have certain standards or that they apply to the management of prawn farms and fisheries, and can they provide information on who monitors the implementation of these standards?
(2) If the prawns are fished, how do they ensure that the accidental capture of other marine life is reduced or eradicated?
(3) Do they sell organically farmed prawns? Organic production has fewer environmental impacts (however social issues are only partially addressed).
(4) Do they sell prawns that are fairly traded, helping coastal communities to benefit from the trade in this luxury food?
Memorise the above and take to your nearest retailer. Good luck!