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How do Wild Georgia Shrimp differ from farm-raised shrimp?

by Guerry Norwood

Wild-caught Georgia shrimp grow naturally and are fished in their natural environment. Because there is currently no way for consumers to tell the source of most farmed shrimp on the market, The Monterey Bay Aquarium maintains a general recommendation to avoid farm-raised shrimp from unknown sources.

According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, “valuable Southeast Asian coastal wetlands, especially mangrove forests, are often destroyed to create commercial shrimp farms. Where shrimp are cultivated intensively, pollutants and disease organisms build up in the muck beneath each pond. After a few years, the pond can no longer support healthy shrimp. The pond is abandoned and the farm must expand to fresh territory. The contaminated muck cannot support regrowth of the mangrove forest, so the ecosystem will not recover for decades, if ever.”

Wild Georgia Shrimp get their flavor and color from their natural diet of marine organisms, and because they grow in a natural environment and are harvested at the height of the season, the flesh is firm, the color fresh and the taste is sweet.

This unique flavor profile is thought by researchers at Texas A&M University to be due primarily to “the increased abundance of free amino acids, which the animals utilize to counteract the large osmotic gradient that exists in salty offshore waters. Conversely, pond-raised shrimp are most efficiently raised during the rainy season when pond salinities may drop to one-tenth that of open ocean water. They also speculate that the unique flavor of wild shrimp is due in part to their diet of high-protein, natural foods versus the cereal, grain-based feeds required to grow shrimp at high densities in ponds.”

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