Question Your Shrimp Advocacy Campaign
Project Title : Question Your Shrimp Advocacy Campaign
Type : conscious consumerism
Location : Seattle, WA, USA
Start Date / End Date : 2010 – present
Collaborators, Partners and Supporters : This project has been generously supported by Patagonia, Munson, the Leiter Foundation and the Foundation for Deep Ecology. Collaborators in the campaign are Food and Water Watch, Go Wild Campaign, Slow Food, the Chef’s Collaborative, RedManglar, ASIA, AMN, FPP and SSNC.
Question Your Shrimp is a multi-pronged multi-media campaign to reduce consumption of imported farmed shrimp in the Seattle-King County area by 20% in order to counter one of the major root causes of mangrove ecosystem destruction world-wide, The shrimp-farming industry. Working in concert with a consortium of other environmental organizations, conscientious consumers, environmentally-aware restaurateurs and seafood retailers, and cadres of dedicated volunteers, the Question Your Shrimp campaign will model a grass roots market based campaign that will significantly reduce this consumer demand, initially in the Seattle/King County Area., with the goal of creating a sustainable model that can be brought to scale throughout the US, Canada, and Europe to achieve a global impact.
Mangrove destruction has many causes, but the number one today is the uncontrolled meteoric growth of the shrimp farming industry in the developing world. Worldwide, over a million hectares of mangrove forests have been destroyed by shrimp farming alone–and this in only in the last three decades! Vast stretches of mangrove forests are cleared to make way for shrimp ponds. Shrimp farms replace diverse, multiple resource environments with large-scale mono-culture operations. The shrimp industry has been aptly labeled a “slash and burn” enterprise, leaving in its wake ecological destruction. Shrimp aquaculture has become a global industry that has an annual farm-gate value of over $8 billion dollars, and an annual retail value of over $50-$60 billion dollars. It has great profit potential for the astute investor and entrepreneur. Spurred on by governments eager for increased export dollars, shrimp aquaculture development has been aided by generous support and incentives from international lending institutes, including the World Bank.
To counter these market forces that are devastating global mangrove forests and the indigenous peoples and local communities who rely on them, MAP proposes to utilize those very same market forces to, if not stop, at least significantly slow down this uncontrolled expansion to allow time for the development and dissemination of sustainable, ecological, and just alternatives. The precipitous expansion of the farmed shrimp industry depends on incremental consumer demand in developed countries; there is evidence that perhaps only a 10% decline in demand and sales of farmed shrimp will suffice to slow or even halt the uncontrolled growth.
Highlights / Milestones
A total of 23 restaurants, 4 individual chefs, and 2 markets in Seattle have signed the Chef’s Pledge to not purchase or serve tropical farmed shrimp. Several hundred consumers have also signed the companion Consumer’s Pledge at events such as the Fremont Fair.
In 2012, Lisa Pau, a labor rights attorney with a Masters of Law (L.L.M.) in Sustainable International Development, joined MAP as the new Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator, based in Seattle. She builds strategic relationships and partnerships with the Seattle philanthropic and environmental communities and recruits and supports MAP’s growing cadre of volunteers, including college interns working on the QYS campaign.
To better connect MAP with potential supporters and to support our Question Your Shrimp Campaign, we began renting office space at the Community Alliance for Global Justice in the International District in Seattle. There we will be able to further build up our consortium of supportive groups and better situate our new volunteers.
Project Budget Needs $60,000- $70,000 / year – Please see how you can support here
Resources : QYS Website: www.questionyourshrimp.com
QYS Short YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KVJbUHGAQg