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LAT Litopenaeus vannamei & others
A Popular All-Rounder
Shrimps, also known as prawns, are among the most popular seafood in Switzerland. There are good reasons for this: their preparation possibilities are extremely versatile, their texture is crisp and firm, the taste is nutty, sweet, and mineral, and the price is affordable. Additionally, the high protein content with low fat makes shrimps a healthy food choice.
As diverse as the preparation options and reasons for the popularity of shrimps are, the shrimp species worldwide and the available qualities in terms of taste and sustainability are equally diverse. The by far most widespread species are the whiteleg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) and the black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon). Both species are well-suited for large-scale aquaculture.
All year round
Interesting to Know
Shrimps, prawns, or shrimp are umbrella terms for various freely swimming or bottom-dwelling crustaceans. Inhabiting virtually all parts of the oceans, they are found from the polar seas to the equator and from shallow coastal zones to the deep sea. Various shrimp species, in the form of free-swimming plankton, play a crucial role as a food source for ecosystems.
The most commonly traded species in the market, such as whiteleg shrimps and black tiger shrimps, are tropical species. Whiteleg shrimps are native to the coasts of Central and South America, while black tiger shrimps have their original distribution range in the Indo-Pacific, from northern Australia and Japan to India and South Africa. In both species, adult individuals live on the seafloor up to approximately 100 meters deep, while the larvae live freely swimming along the coast. Mangrove forests, in particular, serve as important habitats for the larvae.
Fisheries and Sustainability
Wild prawns are primarily captured using bottom trawls or traps. Bottom trawling, while effective, can cause considerable damage to the seabed and result in high bycatch rates. However, there are various shrimp bottom trawl fisheries that are MSC-certified, allowing for targeted fishing with minimal impact on the seabed, particularly in areas with sludgy bottoms.
When purchasing shrimp, caution is advisable. Many wild stocks lack effective management, and certain fishing methods can be detrimental to seabeds. However, shrimp, in general, are known for their high reproductive capacity and short life cycle, making them less susceptible to overfishing.
Aquaculture products are not automatically considered sustainable. The clearing of ecologically valuable mangrove forests for breeding tanks and the intensive production requiring substantial feed and medicines contribute to environmental impact. Feed quality plays a significant role in aquaculture, with the origin and composition, especially fishmeal, influencing the ecological footprint. Whiteleg shrimp requires less animal protein for cultivation compared to Black Tiger shrimp.
For instance, Original Fish offers Black Tiger Shrimp from extensive and near-natural mangrove farming, where no additional feed or medication is introduced.