The True Impact of Eating Shrimp
Are you aware of the impact our appetite for shrimp is having on the environment? According to the August 2007 issue of the Sierra Club's "Southern Sierran" newsletter, as many as 20 pounds of fish are caught, killed, and discarded as by-catch to obtain every one pound of shrimp. Shrimp trawlers rake the ocean, destroying a variety of life in their path and doing severe damage to the ocean floor. As many as 150,000 turtles are killed every year as a result of shrimp fishing. While about two-thirds of the U.S. shrimp now come from shrimp farms, the Sierra Club says that about 99% of this farmed shrimp comes from coastal areas of developing countries. Due to the billions of tons of organic waste, fertilizers, pesticides, and antibiotics that are dumped into coastal waters as a result of shrimp farming, it is believed that more than one-third of mangrove forests may have disappeared in the last 20 years. The Sierra Club recommends eating more plant-based, organic, and locally-grown food if possible. The Monterey Bay Aquarium also has a "Seafood Watch" program with handy pocket cards that offer recommendations about sustainable seafood.
The pocket cards can be printed out and carried in your wallet. They're available for the following U.S. regions: National, West Coast, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Central U.S., and Hawaii.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium also has more information about sustainable seafood on their web site. When it comes to your seafood meal, even small personal choices make a big difference, so keep the environment in mind before your next feast!