DONATE

BLOG

Post a Comment
Foodie
 

Put another shrimp on the barbie... or not.

 
May 10,2012

Posted by Cassie D | Comments (0)

 
Image via www.etawau.com
 
So you're out at dinner, and the only thing on the menu that isn't from a hoofed animal is prawn. You don't feel like vegetarian tonight, so you go with the prawn dish. At least these little dudes haven't suffered in a slaughterhouse. And they don't exactly expel a lot of gas now do they? Surely they're a 'better' option than that meat dish. Think again.  Sustainable Table’s Sofia Strandberg takes a look at one of the world's most controversial industries, tropical prawn farming - an industry responsible for its fair share of environmental destruction, and one that is rife with severe human rights abuses... 
 
Remember when prawns were treated like gold and only whipped out on very special occasions – birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Christmas lunches... Well that was then. Nowadays prawns are everywhere. They’re cheap enough to be chucked on or in anything: curries, pasta, sushi, pizza (a garlic prawn pizza can cost a mere $15, for instance). What happened? How did the prawn lose its glory and become (almost) as cheap as chips?

In the 1990s the world’s tropical and subtropical regions experienced a boom in industrial aquaculture (fish farming that is), which came to replace traditional, low-intensity farming. Today, Thailand, China, Bangladesh, Ecuador and Brazil are the largest producers of farmed prawns (known as tiger prawns, vannamei prawns, gambas, and giant shrimp). A total of 75% of the world’s farmed prawns are produced in Asia alone, mainly for export to Europe, Japan, the US, and Australia. In fact, 50% of the prawns we consume here are imported1 (and sold at a much cheaper price than local prawns).

The problem is that whilst we’re paying just a few bucks per kilo, the environment and the prawn-farming communities pay a significantly higher price. Environmental destruction, food insecurity, human rights abuses and illegal land-seizure are just a few examples of the problems associated with prawn farming in Asia and Latin America. In fact, the business method used is so destructive it's often referred to as 'rape and run'2.

Land clearing
In order to make room for the ponds in which prawns are farmed, vast areas of mangrove forests are chopped down, destroying valuable ecosystems (including bird habitats and fish populations), and consequently the livelihood of the local community. This mangrove-clearing also releases large amounts of carbon that is stored in the mangrove soil. In fact new research shows that so much carbon is released that 100 grams of prawn raised on a typical Asian farm has a carbon footprint of 198 kilograms of CO2. This figure doesn’t even include the energy involved in feeding, transporting and processing, yet is still more than 10 times the amount produced by 100 grams of beef that has been raised on cleared rainforest land.
 

Image from the Smash and Grab report  
 
Chemical pollutants
Not only is the carbon footprint of this little crustacean humongous, the chemicals and antibiotics the prawns are doused in pollute the land and waterways. In fact, after just 3-9 years, the farm and the surrounding environment is so degraded by a build-up of sludge and soil acidification that it can’t be used any more and the farm is moved elsewhere (from then on it takes 35-40 years for the soil to recover4). Hence the term 'rape and run'.

Community impact
On the human side of things, the establishment of farms often leads to conflicts with the local population over land rights and access to natural resources, leading to human rights abuses, intimidation, and even murder (in at least eleven countries, people protesting the expansion of prawn aquaculture have been murdered). In Bangladesh alone, over 150 lives are thought to have been lost3. Many farms have also been found to have terrible working conditions and are rife with sexual abuse, child labour and exploitation. Just recently, 2,000 workers in a Thai prawn processing plant (a major supplier for Walmart) protested against management’s decision to further slash their meagre wages, wages that were already failing to cover their basic needs. Many of these workers are victims of human trafficking and are still legally and financially trapped at the factory5. 

What about Australian prawns?
The good news is, we can vote for a fairer system with our wallets. Just by not eating imported farmed prawns, and choosing local Australian prawns instead, we can indirectly support the preservation of mangrove forest and wildlife, and consequently the livelihoods of the local people. But before you run off and grab any ol’ Aussie prawns, there are a couple of things to consider...

Australian farmed prawns
While prawn farms on Australian soil come with fewer social implications, the environmental footprint of most of these farms is, by no means, small. The fish feed used is often made from wild-caught fish, putting more strain on our already threatened oceans. If you want to know more about how fish meal is produced check out this clip.

Wild-caught Australian prawns
The catching of wild prawns also comes with serious issues, relating to by-catch (trawling for prawns generates the highest number of by-catch of all fisheries) and depleting stocks.

Testament to this, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) lists Australian farmed prawns and most wild-caught prawns in their ‘think twice’ category.

So then, what can I do?
Prawns don’t have to be completely off the menu. Whilst imported prawns are definitely on the no-no list, and we should even think twice about most Aussie farmed and wild-caught prawns, a few ‘better choice’ options do exist:

1. Western King Prawns from the Spencer Gulf Prawn Trawl Fishery in South Australia have been assessed as sustainable by the Australian Conservation Foundation.

2. Haul-caught School and Bay (Greentail) Prawns from NSW are listed as a better choice by the AMCS.

3. Australia’s Northern Prawn Fishery has received Marine Stewardship Council
 Certification for it's banana, tiger and endeavour prawns from the waters surrounding Northern Queensland, Northern Territory and Northern WA, so look out for those.

4. And lastly (yet very importantly), when dining out, remember to ask where the prawns are from. Because, in the words of Canadian journalist Taras Grescoe - author of the book Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood:

“If you're eating cheap shrimp today, it almost certainly comes from a turbid, pesticide- and antibiotic-filled, virus-laden pond in the tropical climes of one of the world's poorest nations." 

Something to think twice about. 
 
How do you feel about the prawn farming industry? Were you aware that it came with so much controversy?
 
Footnotes 
 
 

Your Comments

41 COMMENT(S) FOR "Put another shrimp on the barbie... or not."
  • 1

    Awesome article! Confirms so much of what I have already read. Whoever wrote the comment above obviously likes both prawns and denial.

    As you said... even Australian farmed prawns still use completely non-selective fishing techniques and drag nets. Hopefully more people will read this article and understand the embodied cost of the lowly prawn!

    Comment by Oliveonblonde.com from Perth | May 22,2012 at 11:32 PM

  • 2

    I knew prawns should be avoided because of the by-catch, but I was not aware of farmed prawns. It gives me another reason to avoid it... it's pretty sad as we should now avoid most of the food that comes from the sea... to make sure you make the good choice, download the AMCS application: www.amcs.org.au/Sustainable-Seafood-Guide-Australia.asp?active_page_id=695

    Comment by Charlotte from Sydney | May 17,2012 at 5:00 AM

  • 3

    This is bullshit

    Comment by Your Name from Your Location | May 14,2012 at 11:31 PM

  • 4

    It is very common to experience 2 or 3 pounds of weight loss after the first day.
    The firm bases any discount about the cost of paying for several plastic bottles of the 15-day give.

    Many people have no idea exactly what homeopathy is actually, so when you've never found out about the item,
    homeopathy is usually an eye-opening encounter.

    Comment by Roxana from www.purevolume.com/carenwillhite/posts/6163085/Uncomplicated+Methods+In+weight+loss+In+The+Uk | August 05,2014 at 5:04 PM

  • 5

    For the meantime, it is smart for you to start eating lots
    of fresh fruits and vegetables and drinking a lot
    of water every day, including a 30 minute work out routine everyday.
    Human subject research is the most difficult kind of study because of so many variables
    that are out of the control of the experimental design. HCG drops is being highly
    recommended by health experts and medical doctors--
    a satisfying confirmation that the product is something you
    can count on.

    Comment by Wyatt from shelliebauer.beeplog.com/809330_4325834.htm | August 06,2014 at 12:55 PM

  • 6

    It's genuinely vеry difficult in this busy life to listen news οn Television, tҺսs I just usse the web for thаt reason,
    аnd oƄtain the lɑtest information.

    Comment by Donna from www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzdZ3Dy_PPY | August 07,2014 at 1:21 AM

  • 7

    Since many men and women are mindful that keeping up with your
    healthy weight range has several emotional and physical benefits.
    It has all been compiled into one particular to utilize package that incorporates precise guidelines for implementing the merchandise.
    s better not to test instead of wasting your health insurance and money on these
    fake, choose nothing diets.

    Comment by Helaine from Www.rebelmouse.com/mylesdesrochers/the-options-for-painless-weigh-583401695.html | August 07,2014 at 2:15 AM

  • 8

    Over time even a small crack in the caulk can allow enough moisture to penetrate to allow mold, mildew or rot to take hold.
    Do not forget the cushions for your barstools
    or towels, kitchen chairs, potholders and oven mitts.
    If you have you ought to really just simply following that link.

    Comment by Felica from www.purevolume.com/charlene70eb/posts/6530753/The+Simplicity+of+Installing+Compact+Radiators | August 07,2014 at 3:29 AM

  • 9

    is no shortage of weight loss programs, fad diets, and outright scams.
    They even get to enjoy some of the most colorful and memorable dreams
    ever. If you are afraid of the negative side effects, you can actually
    proceed through holistic therapy which promotes weight reduction.

    Comment by Issac from www.purevolume.com/winfredcombs/posts/6128693/Swift+Methods+For+hcg+-+Some+Thoughts | August 07,2014 at 5:22 PM

  • 10

    Now that you know a little more about the CPA exam scoring process and how it works, you can stop checking your email every
    five minutes and stop accosting your mail carrier when they deliver your mail.
    There are lots of so called professionals that introduce themselves by names
    and their promising background although you do not have any idea who really are they.
    Does she have the license to practice in your state.

    Comment by Lorrine from www.purevolume.com/chong4805lnd/posts/5725305/Stopping+Tax+Offenders+And+Prosecuting+Identification+Theft+Act+Launched | August 06,2014 at 6:24 PM

  • 11

    In the first week, dieters consume six low-carb, protein-rich meals totaling 850 calories on weekdays and 1,200 calories on the weekends.
    In fact, I always suggest to those overweight vegetarians to keep to a max of 4
    pounds a week so you won't suffer loose skin post weight loss.
    If you have been eating far too much food, and you haven't
    been exercising that much all these years, it is possible that your metabolism has slowed down significantly.

    Comment by Christina from verifiedgarciniacambogia.tumblr.com | August 06,2014 at 9:18 PM

  • 12

    So if you know what suits you and makes you feel and look
    comfortable, you have cracked the code for looking stylish.
    s the perfect time for people to entirely release themselves and embrace
    nature. Effectively, I've discovered a way to get
    gorgeous wedding gowns and even designer wedding gowns
    for a fraction of the original price.

    Comment by Shayla from Valenn94.buzznet.com/user/journal/17964513/picking-out-quick-programs-celebrity/ | August 06,2014 at 11:21 PM

  • 13

    The questions you should ask your plastic surgeon before rhinoplasty should be
    about the safety of the procedure, its efficiency, and most importantly,
    its appropriateness for your body and whether it would offer results in line with your expectations.
    Is he an active member of a Plastic Surgery Association or
    Society. By using a radio frequency face lift, many men and women can prolong the need for a full-fledged face lift later on in life.

    Comment by Lanny from joykimberlfbarbdg.pen.io/ | August 07,2014 at 11:50 AM

  • 14

    Frequently, customers end up buying more as they peruse your website, because they want to take advantage of the discount while it is
    still valid. The final large expense SEO creates is tracking
    and analyzing data. Most of the things you think you know
    about search-engine optimization, or SEO, may have been true a
    few years ago but have changed.

    Comment by Darby from www.purevolume.com/rolandfenton/posts/6128398/Simple+Plans+Of+social+media+Explained | August 08,2014 at 7:49 AM

  • 15

    The hair follicles are not receiving the right balance of nutrients they need
    to grow. main light based permanent hair removal technique for men. The doctors and the
    physicians must be experienced and trained in handling the
    laser instruments.

    Comment by Carina from alyce3069wot.pen.io/ | August 08,2014 at 2:55 PM

  • 16

    There was no money for this but once again Virginia’s tenacity paid off.

    Also, be sure to ask your selected college if they have any scholarship programs earmarked for returning female students.
    It was - far and away - a more rewarding, emotional trip than any kind of present.

    Comment by Flor from markosteinmetz.soup.io/?sessid=3af9084d8fee312cddf5a16112fd49bb | August 09,2014 at 6:07 PM

  • 17

    The basis for a diagnosis will start with a thorough
    examination by your veterinarian. Eventually this can cause hair thinning
    or patches of bald spots. Remember, the foaming action of regular shampoos
    and detergents is for looks only.

    Comment by Sharron from terawomblejn.pen.io/ | August 05,2014 at 1:40 PM

  • 18

    These berries were even recently discussed by the
    popular Medicine Hunter show on Fox News, he explained
    the origin of maqui berries and why we should start incorporating
    extract of these berries in to our every day
    nutrition and diets to improve our antioxidant levels and help regulate and improve glucose tolerance.
    With h - CG though, the body burns up excess fats to provide enough calories and energy.
    Weight loss supplements: Top 7 effective natural remedies you can try.

    Comment by Kristeen from brigidamalley.pen.io/ | August 06,2014 at 3:03 AM

  • 19

    Everyone wants cheap bait these days but the big problem
    is that cheap often means rubbish. Connect "A's" positive terminal to
    "B's" negative terminal. But have you ever thought about living in your boat full time.

    Comment by Maynard from firgibar.jimdo.com/ | August 09,2014 at 2:24 AM

  • 20

    Go through Slendertone review and you're going to get to know more magical facts concerning this improbable product.
    After all, they don't call them guilty pleasures
    for no reason. Fiber intake is extremely important,
    as is water intake and having regular bowel movements.

    Comment by Neva from fredrickiqbal.pen.io/ | August 10,2014 at 6:52 PM

  • 21

    Our products are results of world class herbal Veterinary formulations which are being prescribed with a stamp
    of assurance, consistency and efficacy on quality. This
    reduces swelling of feet and improves blood circulation in the feet.
    is a clinically proven (both in elderly and children) standardized phytochemical composition derived from the plant Bacopa monnieri Linn,
    which is well known in Ayurveda as a 'brain tonic'.

    Comment by Daniella from dannimcclean.buzznet.com/user/journal/17985976/inside-hassle-garcinia-cambogia-weight/ | August 10,2014 at 1:19 PM

  • 22

    It is an unfortunate irony that many "nutritional" products people take to improve their appearance have the
    side effect of causing them to go bald. Blow drying can damage hair as can vigorous
    towel drying as when the hair is wet it is more elastic and vulnerable to breakage.
    While you're trying to restore your tresses, try to
    avoid them.

    Comment by Bette from zeldafaircloth.pen.io/ | August 11,2014 at 4:50 PM

  • 23

    It also lets you add multiple portion sizes for your
    own foods. This can be because your system is
    using reserve excess fat and converts these fats into usable power.

    Rolls demonstrates that eating these varieties of meals, principally before the main meal, may lead to eating fewer unhealthy calories during the following dinner.

    Comment by Jennifer from daniemountgar.buzznet.com/user/journal/18007151/revealing-painless-hcg-diet-systems/ | August 11,2014 at 11:10 PM

  • 24

    It's also a great idea to add a link to your blog in your email signature, newsletter and even your business card.

    At the click of the mouse you can choose from host
    of sexy high heels, stilleto shoes for parties, pubs, office or casual wear.
    Women in India have turned back to traditional clothes like
    sarees with dark colors and attractive designs.

    Comment by Abe from caryderose.buzznet.com/user/journal/18073885/effortless-celebrity-clothing-systems-around/ | August 11,2014 at 8:18 PM

  • 25

    Fortunately for women, the lower back ages very well, so they
    should have no problems over the years with their tattoo.

    So try to follow the tips aforementioned to get rid
    of the farmer’s tan. Does it give out an aura of all-around cleanliness.

    Comment by Wilbert from thebestspraytan.jigsy.com | August 11,2014 at 8:20 PM

  • 26

    "And I can see you - Your brown skin shining in the sun - You got your hair combed back - Sunglasses on baby".

    Therefore, there is no risk of cancer, skin rash,
    and many other allergies that you can catch by exposing your sensitive skin to the elements.
    That way, you will never be out of the color you like if they happen to run out of it at the
    local drugstore or beauty center.

    Comment by Stefanie from www.fizzlive.com/member/1111408/blog/view/2971599 | August 11,2014 at 2:31 PM

  • 27

    Thus we became noobs on the water when we purchased our 1957 Sea King with
    a 1964 Johnson motor. Nowadays, these super coolers are
    used for both commercial and domestic purpose.

    Another important application of second law of thermodynamics is
    found in refrigerators and heat pumps, which are
    based on the principle of reversed Carnot cycle or reversed
    Carnot theorem.

    Comment by Chana from www.purevolume.com/candelari69p/posts/6518677/Choosing+Methods+In+fiberglass+marine+cooler | August 12,2014 at 2:56 PM

  • 28

    The amount of calories from fat should be no more than 30%
    of the total calories you eat per day. These supplements,
    accompanied by some determination and discipline, will truly make the difference in your life that you are looking
    to gain. ," keep in mind that the h - CG weight loss plan works because you're taking the h - CG hormone in injection, oral drop or pill form during the time you're on the 500 calorie per day diet.

    Comment by Tawanna from denisgettinge.buzznet.com/user/journal/17864975/factors-hcg-drops-update/ | August 12,2014 at 8:03 PM

  • 29

    cheap chanel bags online
    I every time emailed this weblog post page to all my contacts, since if like to read it next my links
    will too.

    Comment by Xiomara from www.hoovergeneralcontractors.com/images/cheap-chanel-bags-online.html | August 17,2014 at 10:03 AM

  • 30

    Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
    There's a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.

    Please let me know. Thanks

    Comment by Emely from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Self-help_books | August 17,2014 at 11:36 PM

  • 31

    Hi there colleagues, nice piece of writing and fastidious arguments commented at this place, I am really enjoying by these.

    Comment by Marjorie from www.railroadmodeler.com/rr-gallery/index.php?debugtext=Some+remarkable+pictures.+Incredible+colours.++my+webpage+%3A%3A+%5Burl%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2FWeixinangel.com%2Fspace.php%3Fuid%3D86847%26do%3Dblog%26id%3D83686%5Dhomemade+Baby+Food+recipes+4+months%5 | August 17,2014 at 3:47 PM

  • 32

    I am genuinely happy to read this weblog posts which consists of plenty of helpful data, thanks for providing these statistics.

    Comment by Vance from trac.sns.cs.princeton.edu/projects/scaffold/ticket/29474 | August 19,2014 at 11:29 AM

  • 33

    Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic but I was
    wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having trouble finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

    Comment by Cary from www.silentgaming.ch/index.php?mod=users&action=view&id=12812 | August 19,2014 at 4:23 PM

  • 34

    thank you for all the information hopefully this quasi be beneficial

    Comment by Obat Cara Cepat Supaya Benjolan Di Payudara Mengem from obatpolip.com/obat-cara-cepat-supaya-benjolan-di-payudara-mengempis/ | September 07,2015 at 7:49 AM

  • 35

    thank you for all the information hopefully this quasi be beneficial

    Comment by Pengobatan Psoriasis Di Indonesia from www.obatpsoriasis.info/2015/09/pengobatan-psoriasis-di-indonesia.html | September 07,2015 at 2:03 PM

  • 36

    thank you for all the information hopefully all be useful for many people

    Comment by Obat Benjolan Keras Di Belakang Telinga from obatpolip.com/obat-benjolan-keras-di-belakang-telinga/ | September 08,2015 at 1:23 PM

  • 37

    FYI Modern prawn trawling methods make use of Turtle Excluding Devices (TED), Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRD) and Hoppers. A TED is a grid in the middle of the net when marine mammals and turtles get to it they can escape through an escape hatch in the top of it ( prawns stay on the bottom so not many escape). A BRD is a patch of larger mesh netting in the top of the nets fish swimming up can escape through it. A hopper is a big tank of water on board a boat prawns sink to the bottom to a conveyor belt, fish in the higher water levels end up on their own conveyor straight back into the ocean alive. I work on a prawn trawler, any fish that don't make it get eaten by dolphins and sharks. (Dolphins are too smart to ever end up in our nets anyway, we did have one a couple years back smart enough to undo the knot in our little net and eat anything in it.)

    Comment by Fishing Vessel Moccasin from Darwin | March 22,2016 at 7:21 AM

  • 38

    Memoir of Insani Demi Kalam Kisah Komedi Tragedi Kehidupan.
    Perkongsian Satira, Tarikh Peristiwa, Hiburan, Berita,
    Pendidikan, Agama dan Panduan
    Memori Insan, Demi Kalam, Pendidikan, Kemanusiaan,
    Kisah Kehidupan, Kurikulum, Guru Malaysia, Agama, Pelan Pembangunan, Contoh, Peperiksaan Awam, Sekolah Malaysia, Kementerian Malaysia, Dunia Hiburan, Panduan, Pandangan, Pengumuman, Kata-kata, Nilai Murni,
    Hayamun Lamun, Politik, Komedi, Tragedi, Informasi, Berita,
    Isu, Tarikh, Peristiwa, Format, Profil, .

    Comment by Cathleen from memoirinsani.blogspot.com | March 28,2015 at 6:33 PM

  • 39

    we say thank you for the information Segala hopefully what we have made this into a beemanfaat for many

    Comment by Obat Herbal Supaya Cacingan Cepat Sembuh from www.fahmyramdani.com/2015/09/obat-herbal-supaya-cacingan-cepat-sembuh.html | September 05,2015 at 9:19 AM

  • 40

    Some people should just kill themselves. They lead such joyless, nit-picking, conspiracy theory ridden lives. Start by ditching the internet and your expensive phones instead, they're killing the earth. But you can't do without your little gadgets can you? Sanctimonious hypocrites

    Comment by Mike Young from Japan | August 04,2015 at 9:10 AM

  • 41

    thank you for all the information hopefully all be useful for many people

    Comment by Cara Mengobati Benjolan Di Bibir Bagian Dalam Seca from caramengobatibenjolandibibirbagiandalamsecaraaman.wordpress.com/ | September 10,2015 at 4:49 AM

Post a comment