Don’t Stop Pushing for Higher Standards

Don’t Stop Pushing for Higher Standards

By Fiona McGregor

A recent article in TakePart asked whether shrimp can really be sustainable, but the perspective was largely from that of the consumer, the western, and the developed. What about the people whose livelihoods are lost because of shrimp farming? What about the impact on the environment? What about overconsumption?
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Oceana’s lawsuit about shrimp trawls

Oceana’s lawsuit about shrimp trawls violating the Endangered Species Act

By Naoto Miyachi

Oceana, an international conservation organization dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans and numerous endangered species in the ocean filed a lawsuit against the federal government to protect more than 53,000 sea turtles from shrimp trawl nets in April 2015. The organization accused the federal government of violating Endangered Species Act by failing to monitor fishing’s impacts on sea turtles and to set a limit the number of sea turtles can be killed. Oceana Assistant General Counsel Eric Bilsky said in the released statement “It is unacceptable for the federal government to allow this many endangered and threatened animals to die every year when viable solutions exist.” This blog will cover shrimp trawling and general information on bycatch in the United States.

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Sri Lanka’s Government Declares Protection for its Mangrove Lagoons

Sri Lanka’s Government Declares Protection for its Mangrove Lagoons

By Naoto  Miyacchi

Mangrove Forest Function

Mangrove forests have attracted considerable interest recently with the variety of potential benefits, such as carbon sequestration and providing food, fuel and fiber to local communities. Mangroves, which thrive in the mixture of sea and freshwater along coastlines, help maintain sea levels and hold back storm surges, forming a barrier to protect coastal area, as highlighted by the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka. Mangrove forests filter pollutants in runoff and preserve the purity of coastal waters, nurturing the surrounding environment. Mangrove lagoons are also home to a variety of species such as birds, fish and mammals – some of them highly endangered.

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Building Resilience in the Sundarbans

Building Resilience in the Sundarbans: Recognition by the World Bank of the importance of mangroves and sustainable shrimp farming

The Sundarbans, a world heritage site of mangrove forests since 1987 and home to the Bengal tigers, is faced with environmental damage worth INR 6.7 billion (~USD $10758750) due to anthropogenic pressures and climate change. The recent release of the report ‘Building Resilience for Sustainable Development of the Sundarbans’ by the World Bank denotes that this loss is equivalent to 4.8% of Sundarbans’ GDP in 2009 and is a combination of six damage categories (not including overfishing):

  1. Cyclones: INR 2.9 billion (2.1% of GDP; USD $4656770), which includes infrastructure damage, human injuries and fatalities.
  2. The cost of shrimp post-larvae by-catch losses: INR 2 billion (1.5% of GDP; USD $ 3211566), which is associated with fry collection and lack of hatcheries.
  3. The cost of carbon sequestration: INR 0.8 billion (~USD $1284626), which is associated with degradation and suboptimal density of mangrove forests.
  4. The cost of soil salinity: INR 0.6 billion (~USD $963470), in terms of yield of paddy rice.
  5. Biodiversity losses: INR 0.2 billion (~USD $321157).
  6. Preventable sea level: INR 0.045 billion (~USD $72260)

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JT Shrimp Profile

Here’s some shrimp you don’t have to question!

JT Shrimp LLC

If you received a copy of our Children’s Art Calendar this year, then you may want to take a moment to thank the people that made it possible. We’d like to introduce you to Scott and Leslie Tysen, the owners of JT Shrimp farm in Wheatfield, Indiana. Now, you may be asking yourself, how could there be a shrimp farm in Indiana – don’t shrimp need to be in the ocean? Not anymore!

Thanks to a unique recirculating aquaculture technique, called the zero exchange aerobic heterotrophic system, the Tysens and their two children raise fresh saltwater shrimp in a barn on their land. This technique allows the shrimp to be raised without the use of antibiotics or chemicals, and provides a healthy source of fresh seafood to the middle of the country. Continue reading

7 Other Sea Creatures to “Question” before Eating

7 Other Sea Creatures to “Question” before Eating

We get pretty revved up around here about asking people to question their shrimp. Today we take a moment to expand our awareness of other seafood that merit the same pause for a variety of reasons. The Statesmen Journal posted an article that lists the top 8 seafood choices (imported shrimp is among them) that consumers should reconsider before eating.

The quick and dirty list is as follows, but I recommend checking out Victor Panichkul’s original article so you can learn how to ask the right questions to arrive at a better option. Once you’re armed with the ‘why’ you can be ready to adapt if the stock becomes restored or the sourcing methods evolve.

  1. Farmed Atlantic Salmon
  2. Imported Shrimp
  3. Imported Basa or Swai, often labeled “Catfish”
  4. Squid (Calamari), imported from India, Thailand, or China
  5. Imported Big Eye Tuna (commonly sold as Ahi)
  6. Atlantic Cod and Pacific Cod imported from Russia or Japan
  7. Blue Crab imported from China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam or the Phillipines
  8. Imported Crawfish

I’ll take the shrimp stir-fry, but can you hold the slavery please?!

I’ll take the shrimp stir-fry, but can you hold the slavery please?!

Last week, the Guardian published a video and article that chronicles the slavery behind sourcing raw material for farmed shrimp feed. 6 months in the making, it explains the hardships endured by migrant workers that are sold to captains of Thai fishing boats. Once enslaved, they do not see land for months or years at a time. They fish for ‘trash’ fish, which are usually the by-catch of a different intended catch like tuna. This ‘trash’ fish is not marketable to global markets in developed countries so it is sent to processing plants to be converted into fish meal and/or fish oil for farming shrimp. Shrimp, by comparison, occupy a huge percentage of the world seafood trade. The U.S. consumes more shrimp than any other country in the world. Even more surprisingly, about 90 percent of the shrimp available in the U.S. is imported, and about half of that is unsustainably farmed (not wild-caught). Continue reading

Countering the Blue Revolution

Countering the Blue Revolution

By Alfredo Quarto, Mangrove Action Project

Introduction:

Today, there is a blue revolution in our midst, driven by immense profit potential, but resulting in furthering terrible environmental losses and human suffering. To counter this “revolution,” a worldwide movement is building against the production and sale of farmed shrimp. Though there are an array of would-be certifiers who claim their particular standard setting process addresses the multitude of problems created by the shrimp aquaculture industry, none of these really suffice in meeting their stated objectives, and so unsustainable shrimp farming continues to expand its destructive course. Continue reading

Global WA Guest Blog Post

Global WA Guest Blog Post

Check out our guest blog post for Global Washington: Contemporary Shrimp 101!

The terms “eat local” and “sustainability” have quickly taken root in American culture. Popular authors and films (think Michael Pollan and Food, Inc.) showcased these two themes to a wide audience, quickly ramping up fervor and action among society. While I cannot deny the effectiveness on illuminating the injustices and lack of traditional farming in the U.S. beef, poultry, and seed patent industries, there has been little explanation about how the seafood industry, especially shrimp production, has adapted to meet increasing demand at low cost.

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Internships Available in Seattle, Washington!

The Question Your Shrimp Campaign is taking on Interns for 2014!

Internships are available for students, recent grads, or retired persons interested in increasing consumer awareness about the implications of eating coastal farmed shrimp. The following internships are also available as volunteer positions if you’re short on time but still want to participate. Check them out!

Click on the above internship links to learn about each one and how to apply!