Hawaii lawmakers promise reform for confined fishermen

State and federal lawmakers are promising to improve conditions for hundreds of foreign fishermen working in Hawaii’s commercial fleet, and at least one company has already stopped buying fish from the boats following an Associated Press investigation that found the men have been confined to vessels for years without basic labor protections. While many men appreciate the jobs, which pay better than they could get back home, the report revealed instances of human trafficking, tuberculosis and food shortages. It also found some fishermen being forced to defecate in buckets, suffering running sores from bed bugs and being paid as little as 70 cents an hour. On Capitol Hill, Hawaii’s congressional delegation – U.S. Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz along with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, all Democrats – said they were exploring legislative solutions after being startled by the findings about the state’s $110 million industry, which ranks fifth among the country’s highest-grossing fisheries. Read the story here 06:54