This article first appeared on “Who Fishes Matters,” the official blog of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA) on August 31, 2012.
Written by: Pamela Flash
I have to be honest, my love of shrimp is deeply rooted as my ‘go to food’ when back in the day I wanted something low calorie and low fat to eat. Of course, this was in the days before we worried about our cholesterol levels. Salad and shrimp cocktail were not going to pack on the pounds.
Back then, I had no idea where my shrimp came from but my guess is that it was wild and lived in the ocean. Now, it’s still a challenge to figure out my shrimp’s origins and on top of that I find my food choices have become more complicated.
So, it’s summer and the perfect time to eat outside, and to eat lots of shellfish. I decided I would try to get a sense of where the shrimp that I order in a restaurant comes from.
Why should you ask where the shrimp (or any animal protein for that matter) is sourced?
The shrimp we order at a restaurant is most likely farm raised. They are fed antibiotics, GMO feed or some other unnerving food source. According to Food and Water Watch, “Fish-lovers would be horrified to learn that huge quantities of fish and shrimp are now being grown in giant nets, cages, and ponds where antibiotics, hormones and pesticides mingle with disease and waste. These industrialized aquaculture facilities are rapidly replacing natural methods of fishing that have been used to catch fresh, wild seafood for millennia.”
Not sounding good to me.
A 30-million-square-meter shrimp farm in Indonesia
In one high-end restaurant I visited recently, I asked, “Can you tell me where the shrimp is from and if it is wild or farm-raised?” The waiter came back with the answer that the shrimp were wild and from Guatemala.
Another thing to think about is that shrimp are often farm-raised in foreign countries like Indonesia, where the workers rights are questionable and the effects of shrimp farms can be devastating to their ecosystems. And, let us not forget the increased carbon footprint created when shrimp travels hundreds if not thousands of miles to make it to our dinner plate. [read entire article…]