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November 18, 2014

United States

California—Farmed Shrimp and Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Watch Program




The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch® program creates science-based recommendations that help consumers, chefs and businesses choose seafood that is caught or farmed in ways that don’t harm the environment.  Its recommendations indicate which seafood items are “Best Choices” or “Good Alternatives,” and which ones should be “Avoided”. For an aerial video of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, click here.



How Farmed Shrimp Fits into the Seafood Watch Ranking System


Best Choices are shrimp farmed in ways that cause little harm to habitats or wildlife.


Good Alternatives are shrimp that are recommended, but with some concern about how they are farmed.


Avoids are shrimp that are farmed in ways that harm marine life or the environment.


How does Seafood Watch develop its recommendations?  Its scientists research government reports, journal articles and white papers.  They also contact fishery and fish farm experts.  After a thorough review of all the available data and information, Seafood Watch applies its sustainability criteria to develop an in-depth report.  All its reports are reviewed by a panel of experts from academia, government and the seafood industry and are available on its website.  Its seafood recommendations are based on these reports.  All its recommendations are updated every six months.


Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program has evaluated (rated) eleven categories of farmed shrimp.  Four received the “Best Choice” recommendation; five received the “Good Alternative” recommendation; and two received the “Avoid” recommendation.



The Four “Best Choices” of Farmed Shrimp


1. Giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) raised in ponds within a managed mangrove forest
in Southeast Asia.


2. Pacific white shrimp (P. vannamei) raised in recirculation systems or inland ponds
in the United States.


3. Pacific white shrimp (P. vannamei) raised in open systems in the United States.


4. Freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) raised in the United States.



The Five “Good Alternatives” of Farmed Shrimp


1. Pacific white shrimp (P. vannamei) raised in Ecuador.


2. Pacific white shrimp (P. vannamei) raised in recirculating systems in Thailand.


3. Farmed shrimp certified by Naturland.


4. Farmed shrimp certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.


5. Farmed shrimp certified by the Global Aquaculture Alliance.



The Two “Avoids” of Farmed Shrimp


1. All imported farmed shrimp that’s not a “Best Choice” or a “Good Alternative”.


2. Imported farmed shrimp from Mexico.


Information: Ken Peterson, Communications Director, Monterey Bay Aquarium (Seafood Watch Program), 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, California 93940, USA (phone 1-831-648-4922, cell phone 1-831-238-3632, email, webpage


Sources: 1. Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Webpage.  Website Visit on November 18, 2014.  2. Personal Visit to Monterey Bay Aquarium on November 12, 2014.  3. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, November 18, 2014.

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