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Shrimp: Farmed or Wild?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
What are your feelings about farmed vs wild shrimp? I've read good and bad about both.

And what about where the little buggers come from? Thailand, Vietnam, India, Mexican Gulf waters, East Coast/West Coast USA. What's your preference, and why?

scb
post #2 of 15
my preference would be the luxury to have a preference!

every retail source in our area carries nothing but farmed southeast asian product.

I would pay to support the domestic shrimp industry - but that is neither a locally available option or preference or possibility.

if I want USA shrimp, I have no option but to mail order them on dry ice.

we do have one local seafood purveyor who deals exclusively with Chesapeake crabbers, and a couple markets that deal in domestic live cold water lobster, but shrimp is a difficult commodity.
post #3 of 15
Standard wild harvest is very ocean destructive.

Standard farmed aren't of great quality and have their harms too.

There are a few exceptions to both rules, but neither are available at my markets.

The long term future is probably careful farming.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
How so? Is there a non-standard wild harvest?

scb
post #5 of 15
The standard method drags the ocean bottom indiscriminately collecting everything or at least tearing it up.

There are other more specific collection methods, but the yield is much lower and costs more. The program I watched talked about a few alternative methods but none were indicated as in use. This was a few years back and legislation was also discussed. I'm not aware of that result.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #6 of 15
For professional usage I prefer to use Gulf Coast Whites but for personal consumption....Given our proximity to the SE Coast it's local whites caught from St. Simons to the OBX. On occasion we do buy Key West Pinks but that's all. I won't buy shrimp from anywhere else....Not trying to sound too snobbish but when you've had fresh SE Coast shrimp there's nothing that compares:lips:
post #7 of 15
I read today that almost the entire Gulf of Mexico is a "dead zone" with oxygen levels 66% lower than what will sustain sea life. Algae die feasting on the Midwest farmer's phosphates and other fertilizers that have been unusually high this year due to flooding.

Anyway, they interviewing some old guy who'd been fishing the Gulf out of New Orleans for 5 decades and said he has to spend near $450 just to get to the edge of the "dead zone" and it is no longer profitable to try to fish there.

THe local producer is losing his base of ships as they go elsewhere to fish.

We get our shrimp flown in everyday to a local high end grocery and they are from Thailand. I like 'em well enough, they are usually very fresh frozen and when boiled they come out tasting and smelling fresh and sweet.

Makes great shrimp cocktails. We get the 25-32 (or thereabouts) size. I like the smaller ones as they cook more evenly and stay firm and not rubbery or transluscent when done cooking and laying them on ice to cool.

doc
post #8 of 15
......The standard method drags the ocean bottom indiscriminately collecting everything or at least tearing it up.

I am always subject to being in error, but I do not believe shrimpers use drag nets.

and I agree drag nets aren't pretty.....

fortunately there is progress on both the legal and technical front to use nets which greatly reduce by catch. not a lot of help for coral, tho...

and I'm old enough to remember the Popular Science articles espousing that "the bounty of the seas can feed the world".... oops.....wonder if they interviewed the whales for that piece?
post #9 of 15
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post #10 of 15
I buy live shrimp from Chinese and Vietnamese fish mongers, presumably wild, presumably from Pacific waters. Actually, they're usually spot prawns which were probably dragged between Ensenada and Santa Cruz -- you know, Santa Barbara. We also see grass shrimp, from NorCal and Oregon.

Live aside, I think I prefer wild to farmed, but so much depends on what's available in what size at what price and whether true information is crossing language barriers. Then there's packing. Shrimp are almost always packed frozen, making it hard to pick out the nuances which distinguish farmed and wild.

BDL
post #11 of 15
I've got a package of frozen farmed shrimp that is labeled as a product of Viet Nam. I used some in a delicately flavored miso soup and was notably aware of the lack of flavor the shrimp had. I had not evenpaid attention to the fact that the product was farm raised until after I had made that soup and checked the package to see what I had purchased. It won't be purchased again.

While I still have some of those left I should purchase some wild caught and compare them side by side.
post #12 of 15
A couple of nights ago I made some garlic-lemon shrimp to top angel hair pasta. Lately what I've been doing is getting shell-on raw shrimp and peeling them. The shells, tails and such go into a small pot to make shrimp stock which is reduced, butter added, maybe a splash of white wine depending on what I'm drinking that night, to make a sauce for the shrimp. Usually quite a nice addition, but this last batch of stock was amazingly tasteless. Wish I knew the origin of those shrimp, I'd try to avoid them in the future.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #13 of 15
Oops didn't realize I clicked the post button twice!
post #14 of 15
Off the coast of Jekyll Island, St. Simon's Island, and Brunswick, GA, the shrimp boats do use drag nets. I moved from Georgia about 10 years ago but remember a lot of talk about the damage to the shoreline around the islands because of the shrimping industry. They were talking about making them stay further away from the coast. I don't know a lot about shrimping but every time we went to the beach there, we'd see the boats going back and forth all day. Once, we also seined by hand along the shoreline of Jekyll Island for rock shrimp. In my 34 years, I've never run across anything so delicious as those shrimp we caught that day.

Here's a link to information on shrimping off the coast of Georgia.
Shrimpers and the Environment

I buy whatever is available in the stores. Living in a rural area of the midwest, I just don't have that many choices and would never have shrimp if I was too particular about it.
post #15 of 15
There are some local prawns here (white spotted B.C prawns), but they are quite pricey.

For "restaurant use" the better prawns come form Vietnam and Thailand, and yes they are framed. I've had vey bad luck with prawns from India and China: Mushy (harvested dead...) bland, erratic sizing, etc.

Like it or not, farmed seafood will probably end up to be the only sustainable way to feed ourselves in the very near future....
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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