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Shrimp's Dirty Secrets: Why America's Favorite Seafood Is a Health and Environmental Nightmare

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:52 AM
Original message
Shrimp's Dirty Secrets: Why America's Favorite Seafood Is a Health and Environmental Nightmare
Shrimp's Dirty Secrets: Why America's Favorite Seafood Is a Health and Environmental Nightmare

By Jill Richardson, AlterNet. Posted January 25, 2010.

The environmental impact of shrimp can be horrific. But most Americans don't know where their shrimp comes from or what's in it.




Americans love their shrimp. It's the most popular seafood in the country, but unfortunately much of the shrimp we eat are a cocktail of chemicals, harvested at the expense of one of the world's productive ecosystems. Worse, guidelines for finding some kind of "sustainable shrimp" are so far nonexistent.

In his book, Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood, Taras Grescoe paints a repulsive picture of how shrimp are farmed in one region of India. The shrimp pond preparation begins with urea, superphosphate, and diesel, then progresses to the use of piscicides (fish-killing chemicals like chlorine and rotenone), pesticides and antibiotics (including some that are banned in the U.S.), and ends by treating the shrimp with sodium tripolyphosphate (a suspected neurotoxicant), Borax, and occasionally caustic soda.

Upon arrival in the U.S., few if any, are inspected by the FDA, and when researchers have examined imported ready-to-eat shrimp, they found 162 separate species of bacteria with resistance to 10 different antibiotics. And yet, as of 2008, Americans are eating 4.1 pounds of shrimp apiece each year -- significantly more than the 2.8 pounds per year we each ate of the second most popular seafood, canned tuna. But what are we actually eating without knowing it? And is it worth the price -- both to our health and the environment?

Understanding the shrimp that supplies our nation's voracious appetite is quite complex. Overall, the shrimp industry represents a dismantling of the marine ecosystem, piece by piece. Farming methods range from those described above to some that are more benign. Problems with irresponsible methods of farming don't end at the "yuck," factor as shrimp farming is credited with destroying 38 percent of the world's mangroves, some of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on earth. Mangroves sequester vast amounts of carbon and serve as valuable buffers against hurricanes and tsunamis. Some compare shrimp farming methods that demolish mangroves to slash-and-burn agriculture. A shrimp farmer will clear a section of mangroves and close it off to ensure that the shrimp cannot escape. Then the farmer relies on the tides to refresh the water, carrying shrimp excrement and disease out to sea. In this scenario, the entire mangrove ecosystem is destroyed and turned into a small dead zone for short-term gain. Even after the shrimp farm leaves, the mangroves do not come back. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/food/145369/shrimp%27s_dirty_se...




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Submariner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:28 AM
Response to Original message
1. Man has successfully raped the ocean of almost all of it's natural
resources diminishing fisheries world wide. Fishing will not stop until the critters are all gone, or at least unsustainable. Our kids and grandkids are f*cked.

Our fish are full of lead, mercury, PCBs, dioxins, PAHs, and a cocktail of pesticides and herbicides. The people that eat this crap are accumulating these toxic cocktails in their livers and kidneys, and will pay dearly for this as they age.

A total moratorium on fishing is warranted, but greed always wins.
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #1
13. Ever see "The Deadliest Catch"? I had that exact same thoughts watching that show.
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 05:24 PM by earth mom
:cry:
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:44 AM
Response to Original message
2. As I've said before
Eating any fish (either wild or farmed) or consuming any fish product like fish oil capsules, is an act of ecocide.

How clear are our individual consciences in this matter?
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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:16 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Pretty clear
I don't eat much shrimp. I like it right off the boat when I do.

When I do it's usually locally caught where there have been quotas to maintain the fishery for decades.

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishwatch/species/brown_shrimp...


Then there are places like this...

http://sanantoniosustainableliving.blogspot.com/2009/04...
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Good news.
How are you on tuna? Salmon? Pollock? Tilapia? Oysters? Mussels?
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FedUpWithIt All Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Tilapia can be raised sustainably by the average person.
http://www.portablefarms.com/fish_donf.htm

The waste from the fish is also a great, and safe, fertilizer for plants.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. So can cows.
The problem is with the damage inflicted on the ecosphere by factory food production. I can pretty much guarantee that tilapia from the local Mega-Mart is not ecologically sound.

I have no problem if you eat only fish you grow yourself from eggs, with full attention paid to all life cycle aspects of their production. I have a big problem with commercial fisheries of any sort. They are the same problems I have with land-side feedlot operations.
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FedUpWithIt All Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. I was simply pointing out that there is an alternative to the commercial farming route


On a personal note have been making huge changes in our lifestyle because we also have issue with the commercial production of food (including plant based) and we feel that it is more ethical for us to be responsible for the life cycle of nearly all the food we consume. Fish are a part of our diet. It will take time but we feel good about the rate of change we are working at.

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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Yes, but for how many people?
Many people in cities don't even have space for realistic vegetable gardens, let alone DIY fish farms. More power to you, but my ecocide comment wasn't aimed at you. People who can't grow their own fish (and make the process sustainable from the milt to the compost bucket) should not be eating it.
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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:00 PM
Response to Reply #5
14. Don't eat em.
I will put down a bunch of crawfish or blue crabs now and then though and a catfish once in a while.

Not a big seafood fan, I prefer freshwater critters.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:12 AM
Response to Original message
3. god hates shrimp
God Hates Shrimp

Shrimp, crab, lobster, clams, mussels, all these are an abomination before the Lord, just as gays are an abomination. Why stop at protesting gay marriage? Bring all of God's law unto the heathens and the sodomites. We call upon all Christians to join the crusade against Long John Silver's and Red Lobster. Yea, even Popeye's shall be cleansed. The name of Bubba shall be anathema. We must stop the unbelievers from destroying the sanctity of our restaurants.

Leviticus 11 :9-12 says:
9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

Deuteronomy 14 :9-10 says:
9 These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat:
10 And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you.

http://www.godhatesshrimp.com /
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Cowpunk Donating Member (572 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #3
11. You go, God. Cockroaches of the ocean they are.
God and I don't often agree, but I'm too grossed out to eat anything with more than four legs.
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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. Yeah but they feed the nice big fish
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DisgustedInMN Donating Member (956 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:55 AM
Response to Original message
6. Damn... Forest is gonna be bummed about this. n/t
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 04:05 PM
Response to Original message
12. been true for years; ever see the shrimp farms in Central America? ghastly devastation
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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:52 PM
Response to Original message
16. Eat Maine Shrimp
Cheap - around a buck a pound - tasty and a sustainable wild harvest.

I buy and freeze 10-20 lbs a year.

:thumbsup:
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glinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 11:17 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. We had Gulf Shrimp tonight. Been saving it for our Anniversary. Don't eat much seafood.
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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 11:07 PM
Response to Original message
18. Shrimp can trigger a gout attack
Edited on Tue Jan-26-10 11:08 PM by pscot
that's guaranteed to change the way you think about them.
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