Slow Fish

Slow Fish

Farmed Shrimp

  • Scientific Names:

Penaeus megalops, P. braziliensis, P. vannamei, P. stefirus, P. aztecus, P. duorarum, P. monodon, P. esculentes, P. semisculatus, P. chinensis

  • Commercial names:

Black tiger shrimp, tiger prawn, white shrimp, ebi (sushi).

Shrimp can be divided into three categories based on their habitat: cold water/northern, warm water/tropical/southern and fresh water. Though technically they designate different families, in English the terms “shrimp” and “prawn” are used interchangeably. In the United States, “shrimp” is the generic name for all shrimp and prawn varieties.

Issues with Wild-Caught Shrimp

Stocks

The majority of shrimp found on the market are tropical. All shrimp have a short life span and grow quickly. They reproduce prolifically, and so are considered resistant to overfishing. However they are invariably subjected to intensive fishing and even though the majority of stocks are not yet showing clear signs of over-exploitation, they are close to their maximum sustainable yield.

The fishing techniques used to catch shrimp represent a considerable risk to the environment.

Fishing Methods

The majority of wild tropical shrimp are caught using midwater or bottom trawling, which leads to significant bycatch. Trawl nets catch everything in their path, including endangered sea turtles, juvenile fish, sharks and other marine life. This bycatch is thrown back overboard, dead or dying.

Shrimp trawling has the highest rate of bycatch than any other commercial fishing technique. Some fishermen have adopted measures to reduce bycatch, for example by using systems that allow sea turtles to escape from the nets. However, there is no particular labeling that allows consumers to differentiate these products at the moment of purchase.

Trawling can also have dramatic repercussions for the marine environment. Tropical shrimp often live in habitats easily damaged by heavy trawl nets. This damage is often irreparable, as in the case of coral reefs.

  • Sources

FAO

Monterey Bay Aquarium 

Environmental Justice Foundation