Aaron Orlowski

Aaron Orlowski

Contributing Editor

Aaron Orlowski is a West Coast-based freelance journalist who writes about fisheries, food, science, and the environment. Before settling in Portland, Oregon, he worked for newspapers in California, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In his spare time, he attempts to salvage untested recipes in the kitchen.

Published on
April 27, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the entire seafood industry. Demand for fresh seafood has plummeted as restaurants, hotels, and catering businesses shutter. And trade has faltered as transportation restrictions prevent supply chains from moving product.

But while businesses in the developed world can apply for social safety provisions and major seafood companies' balance sheets give them a fighting chance to weather the storm, small-scale

Read More
Published on
April 21, 2020

Despite legal and corporate barriers, trade unions are starting to give migrant seafood workers a greater voice in Thailand and across Southeast Asia – enabling them to combat the subpar working conditions that persist on fishing vessels and in seafood processing facilities.

Organizing hasn’t been easy, according to a new report published by the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), an advocacy

Read More
Published on
April 17, 2020

Climate change is warping the West Coast marine ecosystem. Warm waters are driving species north. Acidification and deoxygenation are threatening coastal species.

Fishermen are intimately familiar with these impacts. When the marine heat wave of 2014 and 2015 – dubbed "the Blob" – raised water temperatures for months on end, fishermen saw landing revenues of salmon and hake drop. That heat wave foreshadowed the increased and more

Read More
Published on
April 16, 2020

Traditional investors have long overlooked coastal fisheries in emerging markets, deterred by poor data, management challenges, and unpredictability. But an infusion of capital may be exactly what some of those fisheries need to take the next step in improving both sustainability and the livelihoods of local fishermen.

The Meloy Fund for Sustainable Community Fisheries, an impact investment fund affiliated with the conservation group Rare, is

Read More
Published on
April 15, 2020

Tensions flared fast as the proposed expansions of national marine monuments near Hawaii in President Barack Obama’s second term set fishermen and conservationists against each other.

The Hawaii Longline Association, representing about 150 permitted vessels, objected to fishermen being locked out of fishing grounds. Conservationists aligned with The Pew Charitable Trusts, which advocates for marine protected areas (MPAs) around the world,

Read More
Published on
April 15, 2020

Seafood companies looking to demonstrate their commitment to environmentally sustainable fishing can choose from an array of assessments, audits, and certifications. But when they decide to show their dedication to treating workers well, they’re left with few options.

Poor working conditions at sea are rampant, and numerous reports have emerged in recent years of labor abuse and human rights violations, spurring a reckoning within the

Read More
Published on
April 14, 2020

The death of Kiribati fishery observer Eritara Aati Kaierua is prompting calls for reforms to fishery observer programs in the Pacific. 

Kaierua was found dead aboard the Win Far No. 636, which is flagged to Taiwan, as the vessel was enroute to the Tarawa port of Kiribati, according to the initial notice from Taiwan sent to members of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), the Kiribati observer program, and multiple

Read More
Published on
April 10, 2020

Baseline international standards for human rights, labor conditions, and social responsibility in the seafood industry will have to wait.

Countries pushed back against draft guidance on social responsibility in fish value chains developed by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) when it was first officially presented in November in Vigo, Spain. As a result, FAO is spending the next year-plus creating a scoping paper

Read More
Published on
April 7, 2020

Tens of thousands – hundreds of thousands, even – of rockfish, boccaccio, and lingcod congregate around the pillars of Southern California's 27 offshore oil platforms, while shellfish cling to them in thick mats.

The platforms near the Channel Islands are among the world's most productive hotspots for marine life, producing 27 times more total fish biomass than nearby natural rocky reefs, according to scientists, with rockfish making

Read More
Published on
April 6, 2020

The monkeyface prickleback hides under tidal boulders on the California coast and feasts only on algae. It could offer a lifeline to aquaculturists seeking to reduce their reliance on fishmeal-dependent carnivores such as salmon …

Photo courtesy of the University of California,

Read More