- Issue: Summer 2014
Americans love shrimp. The average US citizen eats roughly four pounds of it a year, making it the most consumed seafood in the country. But the popularity of these tiny crustaceans has a downside—one WWF is working to address.
2 lbs = Approximately 40 Shrimp
Two Pounds Per Person
Almost 8 million tons of shrimp and prawn, both farmed and wild caught, are traded globally each year. In a world with 7.1 billion people, that’s roughly two pounds per person—but it’s not distributed equally. More than 70% of the shrimp produced in 2009 was consumed in the US, Japan and Europe; in contrast, more than 80% of shrimp production now happens outside those countries, largely in Asia and Latin America.
BELIZE + =
Farming Shrimp Responsibly
WWF is collaborating with 88% of Belize’s farmed shrimp producers to improve their practices and pursue Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification. Together we are working to reduce and mitigate the environmental impacts of shrimp farming in the coastal habitats of the Mesoamerican Reef.
Shrimp makes up roughly 30% of US seafood imports; the country imported more than 530,000 tons in 2012.
Catching Shrimp Sustainably
WWF works across all sectors—government, science and industry—to make shrimp fishing more sustainable. We’ve helped two Australian shrimp fisheries obtain Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, and we’re helping others around the world meet the MSC standard. Mozambique’s deep-water shrimp fishery, for example, now has scientific observers monitoring catch on its boats, and is performing a stock assessment and measuring fishing impacts on the habitat.
1.8 million tons
Amount of bycatch discarded by shrimp trawl fisheries each year. Tropical shrimp trawling in particular has one of the highest rates of bycatch among all fishing tech-niques. High rates of bycatch can directly affect the food chain by reducing the numbers of key species like turtles, sharks, skates and rays.
Shrimp farming, concentrated mostly in Asian countries, contributes to the degradation of the environment. Ecologically sensitive habitats are often cleared for shrimp farm ponds, and pollution from shrimp farms—including organic waste, chemicals and antibiotics—can seep into the surrounding agricultural land and water sources.
Wild-capture shrimp fisheries account for about 60% of global shrimp production, supporting an industry worth $50 billion a year. Fleet sizes have increased rapidly over the past 30 years to include more than 400,000 trawlers in approximately 65 countries.