Today many nations, organizations, companies and concerned chefs are working hard to protect the seas and the people who make their living from it.
Because of programs like Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, humanity’s attention is turning to the seas for alternate forms of protein and concern about honest sourcing and fair labor practices.
Yet the struggle for responsible actions upon the sea began over 150 years ago when Andrew Furuseth fought for the rights of common seamen.
During his life time not only whales but also seamen were treated with indifferent cruelty. The rights of a seamen were as little valued then as the marine species that were being fished to near extinction. Sailors could be shanghaied, whipped, starved and beaten without recourse to any form of justice. Pay could be withheld for the slightest of reasons.
Furuseth is credited as the key figure behind the drafting and enacting the Seamen’s Act of 1915, hailed by seamen as "The Magna Carta of the Sea”. It fundamentally changed the life of the American sailor. Among other things, it:
- Abolished the practice of imprisonment for seamen who deserted their ship,
- Reduced the penalties for disobedience,
- Regulated a seaman's working hours both at sea and in port,
- Established a minimum quality for ship's food,
- Regulated the payment of seamen's wages,
- Required specific levels of safety, particularly the provision of lifeboats and,
- Required a minimum of 75% of the seamen aboard a vessel to understand the language spoken by the officers
In short, the seamen’s life became better, much better.
For over 125 years Taylor Shellfish Farms has followed the tradition begun by Furuseuth of respecting the sea and the people who work upon its waters. Taylor’s efforts have been recognized by the Aquaculture Sustainability Council (ASC) as being the first U.S. shellfish grower to achieve responsible aquaculture certification for their farming operation in Washington State.
Taylor’s 600 employees work hard year round to continue their active support of the tidal environment. Today as never before it is vital everyone protect and value the sea. The health of our beautiful planet depends upon us.