Thursday, April 4, 2019
12:00-1:00pm | Multi-purpose Room, Curtis Hall, Medford Campus
Slavery at Sea: Bidirectional links between marine degradation and modern slavery
Dr. Jessica Sparks, Conservation Medicine Program, Tufts University
Human beings transferred between boats like cargo, unable to set foot on land for almost 10 years. Watching shipmates be quartered by boats. Being locked in cages. These are not relics nor historical fiction, but rather first-hand accounts from individuals enslaved on fishing vessels who are catching some of the most environmentally degrading seafood products commonly found on supermarket shelves. While modern slavery persists in the global fishing sector, little is understood about the nexus between marine degradation (e.g., overfishing) and the use of modern slavery. Dr. Sparks will discuss the evidence supporting these bidirectional linkages and implications for eliminating modern slavery (and its environmental impacts) in the fishing sector—including a spectrum of actions from creating interconnected international policies and enforcement strategies to changing seafood consumers’ behaviors.
Dr. Sparks is a core faculty member (and 2014 alumna) of the Master in Conservation Medicine program at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University; a research associate with the Antislavery Ecosystem project at the Rights Lab, a University of Nottingham Beacon of Excellence; and a senior fellow with the Environmental Leadership Program, New England Regional Network. Jess is a trained social scientist, interested in the human dimensions of conservation medicine, particularly in marine ecosystems. Her research employs both quantitative and qualitative methods to describe and quantify the bidirectional links between overfishing-induced marine fish stock declines and modern slavery on fishing vessels. She earned degrees from the University of Denver (PhD), Washington University in St. Louis (MSW), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BA), and is a member of the Society for Conservation Biology’s Social Science Working Group and the Integrated Marine Biosphere Research (IMBeR) Early Career Researcher Network.
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Environmental Studies Lunch & Learn lecture series is co-sponsored by the Tufts Institute of the Environment.