I just read this article about how fishing for shrimp is basically the worst thing you could possibly do to the ocean.
Sobering, right? Neither farmed or wild caught shrimp are a good option. I looked in the Oregon Pink Shrimp option referenced at the bottom of the article, it seems like they created a fancy net to reduce bycatch. Which is good, but not great.
My least favorite phrase is “that is not an option.” Especially if you’re telling me never again to eat those scrumptious little sea bugs. Of course, after reading what they dump into the “farms” I don’t think I will anything for the rest of the day.
Which brings up the question, WHY are people farming shrimp this way? This seems completely backward on a number a levels. Shrimp are bottom feeders, their job is to eat poop! You buy them to put in your fancy-pants saltwater aquarium to keep it clean. Why on earth would you pump diesel into your shrimp pond?! More importantly, why are will still farming like we don’t know anything about the world ecology?
Someone please start a sustainable shrimp farm. Don’t clear the seafloor to build it, put it next to the ocean, and have sea water pumped in and out. (If the Monterey Bay aquarium can do it, so can you.) Using ocean water will ensure a natural habitat that the shrimpies can thrive in, which can then be drained for easy harvesting with zero bycatch.
Even better, build a shrimp AND a fish farm together! Raise fish that have a plankton based diet (sardines, anchovies mackerel–all high in Omega fatty acids!) which live in an environment with live seawater pumped through. The seawater the fish live in get pumped through to the shrimpy-shrimp, which now has lots of poo for them to feast on. Two sustainable, healthy food sources!
Of course, I’m armed with all the knowledge I’ve accumulated by reading plaques at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You should work with an actual ocean ecologist.
And for those of you would like to eat conscientiously, the MBA has made a Seafood Watch website where you can look up different types of seafood! Enter in what you’re looking to buy and it will tell you what to avoid, good alternatives and best choices! I typed in “shrimp” to play devil’s advocate, and they reference a couple other alternatives that the pink shrimp in Oregon. Although, I have no idea how I’m supposed to tell which farms are verified in South East Asia.
You can keep up on issues such as ocean ecology, overfishing and what you can do to help!