(Imported, Farmed in Open Systems)
Most imported farmed shrimp should be avoided due to habitat damage, the risk of pollution and the introduction of non-native species to the surrounding environment. An exception is shrimp from farms using fully recirculating ponds in Thailand, which reduce the risk of escapes and disease and is a "Good Alternative." U.S. farmed shrimp is another "Good Alternative," due to tougher regulations.
Black Tiger Shrimp, Tiger Prawn, White Shrimp, Ebi
For the most sustainable product, look for shrimp raised in fully recirculating tanks or ponds. The terms "shrimp" and "prawn" may be used interchangeably. Shrimp is known as ebi when prepared for sushi.
Shrimp is the world's most valuable seafood and a top choice of U.S. consumers. Almost half of the shrimp consumed worldwide is farmed, with the majority coming from Asia and Latin America.
Large areas of tropical coastal mangrove forests have been destroyed to build shrimp farms. These are an important habitat for a diverse community of fish, invertebrates, plants and birds. This loss has devastating impacts on local communities and the artisanal fisheries and foraged foods that these people rely on.
Environmental impacts vary from farm to farm and country to country. The supply chain is complex, consisting of approximately 400,000 farmed shrimp producers worldwide, numerous independent processing plants, multiple distributors that import the product and thousands of large retailers and restaurant chains. This makes it difficult for consumers to know the origin of their shrimp and how it was farmed.
Most imported farmed shrimp comes from farms that pose a risk of the spread of disease, the escape and establishment of non-native shrimp, pollution and destruction of sensitive habitats. In Thailand, about a quarter of shrimp farms use fully recirculating systems, which treat and reuse water for multiple crops of shrimp without releasing it to the environment. This reduces pollution and decreases the escapes of non-native shrimp and the spread of diseases to the surrounding environment.
Consumers should "Avoid" imported farmed shrimp unless they can be certain that the shrimp is from farms in Thailand that use fully recirculating systems, which are a "Good Alternative." U.S. shrimp farms are subject to more stringent environmental laws, making these shrimp a "Good Alternative."