Shrimp is the number one selling seafood in the United States coming in at over 1.5 billion pounds annually. That’s approximately 4.4 pounds for every man, woman and child in this country. Mayhew’s Market is COMMITTED to YOUR safety in bringing you wild caught, individually quick frozen (IQF) shrimp from the ocean waters of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.
The following information is from the research we’ve done and we would like to share it with our customers and all those interested. References provided:
Were you aware that less than ten percent of shrimp eaten in the United States comes from domestic wild harvest? Did you know that over 90% of the shrimp consumed in this country is imported from overseas? Well over half of that is farmed, not wild shrimp. The top two importing countries are India which accounts for 35.2 percent of the value of all shrimp imports into the United States worth roughly 2.2 billion dollars. Second largest is Indonesia accounting for 18.8 percent worth roughly 1.2 billion dollars.
The European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Food Safety’s recent report “shows the extensive, unique controls that the Indian government has installed to safeguard against exporting shrimp contaminated with antibiotics to the European Union”. However, the report “also reveals why massive quantities of Indian shrimp have been directed to the U.S. market, where no comparable controls are required.” The inability of our food safety regulatory system to deal with the problem of the indiscriminate use of antibiotics and other chemicals in aquaculture has made the United States a dumping ground for contaminated shrimp. The FDA has tested only a very small fraction of those imports because of lack of the army of inspectors that would be required for that volume of imports. Chemicals tested for are an array of antibiotics, formaldehyde, leuco-malachite green (which the FDA had banned in 1983 in this country because of its toxicity), chloramphenicol, tetracyclines, furazolidone, nitrofurazone, sulfadimexothine and furaltadone.
Where Did All The Shrimpers Go?
(Escambia County, FL Study by Rick O'Connor, Sea Grant Extension Agent)
Deck lights from shrimp boats use to speckle the oceans horizon like the night lights of a sprawled out city.
Between 1984 and 2019, shrimp landed were:
Brown: 13,372,791 pounds
White: 255,587 pounds
Royal Red 95,920 pounds
Rocks 78,817 pounds
More than 1000 trips per year were made annually for brown shrimp up until 2002. In 2002 it dropped to 835 trips. in 2003, only 453 trips were made. Between 2017 and 2019, there were less than 100 trips per year. A similar pattern holds true for the other types of shrimp. White shrimp use to be double and sometimes triple digit trips per year up until 2002. In 2002 it dropped from 38 trips per year to 7 and never recovered. Sadly, this local trend parallels the entire shrimping industry in the United States.
World aquaculture shrimp production increased significantly in 2003. In 2000 it was only 28%. In 2010 it rose to 50%. Today approximately 80% of all seafood consumed in Florida is imported. The national average for imported shrimp consumed hovers around 90%.
Competing with the price difference between wild caught shrimp from the US and cheap imports from around the world. Additional factors to consider are rising fuel prices, rising insurance cost, ever increasing regulations, lack of good labor and more expensive maintenance costs are topping the list.
Profits for US shrimpers have consistently decreased relative to operational overhead since 2003. This has created financial hardship for captains and crew alike. Due to all the above, children of shrimpers aren't following in this business that use to be very family centric. Some families even lived aboard their boats with all hands on deck. Much like farming use to be. "kids would rather work with their brains than their back". One shrimper had 40-50 boats and now only has 11. There was once 120 shrimp boats in the fleet of Bon Secour Seafood. Now, there's only 1.
Because of cheap imported shrimp, the US is not going to run out of shrimp, just out of shrimpers. Then, we'll be dependent on other countries for our seafood.