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Imported seafood vs Wild-Caught USA Product

 

By: Tyler Vogelsong

What is "imported seafood?" Let's get technical.

IMPORTED, FARM-RAISED: Farm-raised, imported shrimp that are raised in ponds in a foreign country with very loose regulations compared to the United States.

WILD-CAUGHT, U.S. SHRIMP: Our wild-caught USA Shrimp (Mayport, East Atlantic, Gulf, etc), on the other hand, are shrimp that have been caught on boats by fishers from their natural ocean habitat, in Florida or South Atlantic Ocean.
in our case: the local waters off North Florida to Key West, FL. 
Shrimp are hands down the most popular seafood item in the United States. But only a small percentage of that is sourced from the United States. Surprisingly, 90% of the shrimp consumed in the US is imported and farmed from other countries like Southeast Asia and Central America.

For us, when it comes to seafood, sustainability outweighs everything. We want our oceans to last forever, while enjoying the food that it provides to mankind. With this comes heavy regulations that we follow - while on the ocean or at the docks.

When you hear imported seafood, you know that it's coming from somewhere unfamiliar. But where? What are the conditions/ocean environments like? How are they processed? Are there preservatives involved in this process? Most markets in the US must provide this information. Its always good to know!

Heres some data that weighs heavy with us; Across the nation, American fishermen landed 9.9 billion pounds of fish and shellfish in 2017, while the U.S. imported 5.9 billion pounds of seafood, according to the annual Fisheries of the United States report released by NOAA. 90% of this was imported. 

Its crazy to believe 80-90% of the countries seafood per year is imported from other countries, many with harsh regulations. The main imported species are shrimp, salmon, crab and white fish.

While exports have remained approximately stable, US seafood imports have tripled in the last 20 years to reach a total value of USD 20.16 billion in 2016 to 22.43 billion in 2020. The main imported species are
shrimp, salmon, crab and white fish

In 2015, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) examined only 2.2% of all imported seafood and tested only 0.1% of one million seafood import entry lines for illegal drugs. Of that 0.1%, 12% of shrimp tested positive for illegal drugs [3]. In January 2019 alone the FDA rejected 32 shrimp entry lines from India, 26 of those due to banned antibiotics.

 

Top 5 Reasons to Buy Wild-Caught Shrimp:

CAUGHT SUSTAINABLY: Our shrimpers and processors follow all of the United States government’s strict guidelines to ensure that shrimp are harvested in a manner that does not disturb or take away from their natural environment.
Wild-Caught USA Shrimp are caught without forced labor or illegal labor laws: According to the Department of Labor, forced labor and forced child labor are used in at least four countries supplying shrimp to the United States. Thailand, the biggest supplier of shrimp imported to the U.S., is an example. In 2014 and 2015, investigations from several major newspapers revealed that a sizeable portion of the farmed Thai shrimp that wound up in American, European and Asian grocery stores and restaurants had directly or indirectly passed through the hands of trafficked workers. 

Chef Preferred Quality and Taste: Atlantic Ocean shrimp come with a profound taste in the product. Rock shrimp for example, are caught in 350-450 ft off of Cape Canaveral, FL. The Rock Shrimp are some of the sweetest tasting shrimp we catch because of the depths we catch them and species. We compare these to mini lobsters. 
Lower in Saturated Fats than Imports: The nutrition quality of seafood largely depends on what the fish or shrimp eat. Fish in the wild eat a natural diet and tend to be slightly lower in saturated fat than farm-raised varieties. Shrimp in a pond typically feed off of fertilizers or chemicals that are high in saturated fats.
FREE FROM INJECTED HORMONES: Along with antibiotics, imported shrimp test higher for growth hormones and steroids. This is to help artificially expand the size, vitality and “quality” of their shrimp. These hormones have the potential to be absorbed into the human body, impacting our own body’s functions.
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