A Holiday Gift to Benefit Seafood Workers Globally

Labour Protection Network co-founder Patima Tungpuchayakul (front, center) with fishing families in South Thailand.


Whether we’re serving a selection of chowders in a university dining hall or assembling seafood towers for a VIP catering event, our sustainable seafood commitments are non-negotiable. We’re committed to the long-term health of our oceans and the well-being of the people whose livelihoods depend on the ocean’s precious resources.  

Over the years, as we’ve talked with conservation colleagues and traveled to visit innovative seafood-related projects around the world, we’ve learned more about the global seafood supply chain. It’s long and complex, with products passing through many hands as they move across the globe. One of the glaring issues has been Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. Earlier this year, we signed onto a letter from ocean conservation NGO Oceana urging the Biden Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) to take measures to crack down on this pervasive practice. IUU fishing is tough to track and threatens not only the value of the U.S.’s tightly managed fisheries, it devalues ocean ecosystems and increases the likelihood that workers are subjected to egregious human and labor rights violations, as well.  

The treatment of workers in the global seafood industry parallels the issues faced by farmworkers in the U.S. and abroad. Many seafood workers are subjected to low wages, excruciatingly long work hours, and both physical and verbal abuse. Many are victims of human trafficking, forced to work in dangerous environments without proper safety measures, resulting in injuries and even deaths.  

That these injustices occur in the service of a readily available seafood supply is not something we can ignore, and we know our clients feel the same way. We support humane treatment for all workers, which is why we gave a gift this year in our clients’ names to the Labour Protection Network (LPN), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the rights of workers in various industries, including the fishing industry. Our gift will help support LPN’s work toward ensuring fair and safe working conditions and providing support and services to workers who face labor rights violations. Through their efforts, LPN strives to create a more equitable and just working environment, where workers’ rights are respected and upheld.  

In addition to this gift, we helped start a Community Development Fund in India so that small scale shrimp farmers can garner tangible rewards for participating in programs to document and improve the sustainability of their production practices. The fund will finance community-selected projects such as infrastructure improvements or clean water systems aimed at increasing the general quality of life in the region. 

Responsible sourcing is a core value for Bon Appétit, and those responsibilities extend across the globe. When it comes to clear guidelines for sourcing, transparency in our practices, and partnering with organizations that can contribute to the overall welfare of workers, we will continue to lead and evolve our practices until fair treatment of workers and truly sustainable marine ecosystems are the norm in our food supply.  

To learn more about LPN’s work, we recommend watching the Ghost Fleet documentary, which focuses on their work to help free enslaved fishermen and shine a light on injustice in the global seafood industry.