Barbara Helton, San Clemente
Since attending a recent ocean awareness event, I have become a more conscious consumer of seafood.
Recently, I ordered a shrimp dish at a local San Clemente restaurant. I asked the waitress where the shrimp came from. After an extended inquiry of staff, she came back with a shocking response—the shrimp was imported from India.
My subsequent research revealed that 94 percent of U.S. shrimp supply is imported from countries like India, Indonesia and Thailand. Most of the imported shrimp is “farmed,” grown in huge industrial tanks in cramped conditions, using antibiotics and other chemicals to prevent diseases.
When it comes to safety and sustainability, consuming responsibly caught U.S. wild shrimp is a better choice than farmed shrimp. Consumer Reports recommends people purchase shrimp certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, shrimp from Whole Foods Market, and those listed as “Best Choices” or “Good Alternatives” on Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide at seafoodwatch.org.
But, if for economic or other reasons, farmed shrimp is to be consumed, choose shrimp labeled Naturland, Aquaculture Stewardship Council, or Whole Foods Market “responsibly farmed,” which have certified that their farmed shrimp are free of chemicals or drugs.
Let’s all help to protect our oceans and our health by making informed and responsible decisions about the fish we eat. Maybe then our local eateries will consider labeling their fish sources on the menu and join us in becoming active stewards of the ocean environment.