Taste the Best Shrimp and Support the Local Shrimping Industry


by: Kacie Couch

islandGirl

The local shrimping boat “Island Girl” at sunset.

The Importance of EATING LOCAL

Have you ever bought a bag of prepackaged frozen shrimp at the grocery store? Did you ever check the label and looked at the ingredients listed on the back? I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “There aren’t any additional ingredients in shrimp besides shrimp.” But you may be wrong. Check it out, there is an ingredient called sodium tripolyphosphate. Would you want to eat or feed that to your family? Neither would I.

With so many fish and other seafood’s being farmed in third world countries it’s not just our local shrimping economy that is hurting; it’s our bodies as well. Diabetes and obesity are two major health issues affecting the United States and there is no question why; preservatives and chemicals have dominated our diets in recent years. So why are we continuing to fill our bodies with these chemicals when we’re surrounded by the best seafood in the world, just offshore Florida? In most cases, simply because it’s cheaper… But trust me, we will be paying much more for these decisions in the long run.

Shrimp Industry

How do you know they are local? Well, buy fresh shrimp with their heads on. Chances are that these shrimp are local.

As some locals know, Amelia Island is the birth place of the commercial shrimping industry. Back in the early days shrimpers were paid over three dollars per pound of shrimp. Today our local shrimpers are lucky to receive a little over two dollars per pound. Think about it today’s shrimp boat captains are actually being paid less than their grandfathers, and the reason is to be found in the fact that third world farming produces an inferior and less expensive product.

Asian countries have taken over the shrimping industry by creating false habitats for shrimp. They are fed antibiotics, food pellets and in some cases, pig feces (check out this article from ABC news). While that may seem bad, it might not be the worst of it. In creating these false environments to grow shrimp, Asian farmers are destroying vital habitats and devastating mangrove tree populations. By buying cheap, tasteless shrimp raised on pig feces and denying our local shrimpers their wages we are promoting the destruction of mangrove trees that may never come back. It doesn’t get much sadder than that, folks.

But fear not! There is a solution! Educate yourself and make sure to EAT LOCAL shrimp! A great place to do this is in downtown Fernandina Beach where almost all of the restaurants boast the freshest seafood caught right offshore. Amelia Island continues to strive to be a leader in the shrimping industry so let’s help it achieve that goal! Want to learn more about the shrimping industry and Amelia Island? Join Amelia River Cruises and Charters as they take you on a narrated historical and/or ecological tour down the Amelia River and across the Cumberland Sound. You’re sure to learn much more about the shrimping industry of Amelia Island than I can tell you in 500 words or less. And hey, you might finally learn what sodium tripolyphosphate is (although maybe it’s better if you stay away from this!)

 

See you on the boat, everyone!

Want to learn more about our Eco –shrimping tour? Join us and also meet some of the local dolphins.

 

 

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply