ASPA Applauds AP Reporting About Slave-Peeled Shrimp from Thailand

American Shrimp Processors Applaud AP Reporting About Slave-Peeled Shrimp from Thailand; Group Says: “Know Where Your Shrimp Come From”

The American Shrimp Processors Association applauds the work in the AP investigative article (embed link) this week about slave-peeled shrimp from Thailand being sold in U.S. restaurants and grocery chains. ASPA is appalled but not surprised with what has been uncovered and shared through this story. In light of the findings, ASPA strongly reminds consumers to look at labels and ask at restaurants where their shrimp are from.

The Associated Press story outlines real examples, along with photos, of adults and children forced into slave shrimp-peeling labor operations in Thailand. It highlights the conditions in which the workers are forced to live, the wages, the long hours and the complicit authorities. AP investigators even followed vehicles to track the shrimp through to distribution to U.S. stores and into other global markets.

“Whether it’s asking your restaurant server or seafood market to show you the package, or simply taking the time to look at the package you are buying in the grocery store, it is more important than ever to know where your shrimp are from,” says David Veal, Ph.D., Executive Director of ASPA. “Currently, an estimated 90% of the shrimp consumed in the U.S. are imported, farm-raised shrimp. The premium, natural, antibiotic-free shrimp processed by ASPA members are only about 10% of the total.”

“Our members account for the vast majority of domestic, U.S. production of warm-water shrimp from Gulf and South Atlantic waters. They take pride in their U.S. regulatory-compliant processing facilities, and they follow all U.S. labor practices. If it says Wild American or Gulf shrimp on the package – whether it’s a restaurant-sized package or a retail package, it will say where it’s from,” adds Veal. “But people need to proactively seek out this information.”

Jonathan McLendon, Vice President of ASPA and President of Wild American Shrimp, Inc., says, “As consumers, we all have the power to make a difference. If we buy imported shrimp in a store or order them at a restaurant, under current U.S. regulations, there is no way to know for sure what is in those shrimp or whether they were produced with slave labor. You can remind the restaurants and grocery stores that you use, and if you are not comfortable with their answers or their choices in shrimp, you can educate them. You can encourage them to buy wild-caught American shrimp. It’s very easy. There’s a ‘Where to Buy’ tab on our website,”

About the American Shrimp Processors Association: The American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA), based in Biloxi, Mississippi, was formed in 1964 to represent and promote the interests of the domestic, U.S. wild-caught, warm water shrimp processing industry along the Gulf and South Atlantic with members from Texas to North Carolina. We are the collective voice of the industry, and our focus is to promote the interests of shrimp processors, other segments of the U.S. domestic wild-caught warm water shrimp industry and the general public. More information is available at


For more information, please contact:

Eddy Hayes, Legal Counsel, ASPA
(504) 585-7500

David Veal, Executive Director, ASPA
(228) 806-9600