Shrimp is the #1 seafood in the USA. It is tasty, usually quite inexpensive, and is easily cooked and eaten. Unfortunately, such a craze for shrimp has created an environmental nightmare.
Americans currently consume over one billion pounds of shrimp every year, and about 90% of that is imported from overseas. The primary producers of shrimp—namely China, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil and Ecuador—provide mostly farm-raised shrimp. American shrimp is almost always caught in the wild. Nevertheless, neither options are ideal or sustainable, and both have horrific consequences on the sea.
- Shrimp farming affects human health
The majority of shrimp farms is comprised of open ponds with a small amount of water exchange. Shrimp farming is usually based in coastal areas, and can be destructive to both the ecological and human communities with which it comes into contact. When multiple intensive farming operations are concentrated around the same river, estuary, or bay, as they often are, the waste, uneaten feed and bacteria produced by the farms pollutes the surrounding waters, overwhelming the environment and harming other species. This waste also creates conditions that breed infections among the shrimp themselves.
To protect from the shrimp pathogens that inevitably spread, some farmers feed their shrimp chloramphenicol, a carcinogenic antibiotic which may be unsafe for human consumption. Shrimp may also be treated with sodium triple phosphate, a neuro-toxicant, to prevent it from drying out during shipping, and borax to preserve its pink color.
Upon arrival in the U.S., few if any, are inspected by the FDA, and when researchers have examined imported ready-to-eat shrimp, they found 162 separate species of bacteria with resistance to 10 different antibiotics.
(Shrimp farms in Borneo on the edge of mangroves. Photo by Marc Gunther)
- Shrimp farming affects mangroves and local ecosystems
Scientists have found that shrimp farms have destroyed over 40% of the world’s mangroves, which are some of the most diverse, productive and necessary ecosystems on the planet. Mangroves indeed act as carbon sinks, and serve as valuable buffers against hurricanes and tsunamis, while also providing a safe nursery habitats for many invertebrate, fish, and shark species.
A shrimp farmer will clear a section of mangroves and close it off to ensure that the shrimp cannot escape. Then the farmer relies on the tides to refresh the water, carrying shrimp excrement and disease out to sea. In this scenario, the entire mangrove ecosystem is destroyed and turned into a small dead zone for short-term gain. Even after the shrimp farm leaves, the mangroves do not come back.
- Wild-caught shrimps, bottom trawling, and bycatch
Farmed shrimp have their problems, but wild-caught shrimp aren’t always a much better alternative. Fisherman catch wild shrimp using fine-meshed trawl nets pulled through the water. Worldwide, for one pound of shrimp, there can be 5 pounds of bycatch—other species that become trapped in the nets. Scientists have found that up to 90% of marine life in the nets brought onboard during shrimp harvesting is actually not shrimp! On top of fish that ultimately end up being dead or dying from being in the net, nets routinely pull up 9,000 endangered or threatened sea turtles annually, in addition to sharks, red snappers, and other animals.
(Typical shrimp bycatch. Photo credit: Powered-by-produce.com)
The vast majority is caught using trawling, a highly destructive fishing method. Football field-sized nets are dragged along the ocean floor, scooping up and killing several pounds of marine life for every pound of shrimp they catch and demolishing the ocean floor ecosystem as they go. Where they don’t clear-cut coral reefs or other rich ocean floor habitats, they drag their nets through the mud, leaving plumes of sediment so large they are visible from outer space!
While shrimp trawl fisheries only represent 2% of the global fish catch, they are responsible for over 1/3rd of the world’s bycatch. Trawling is comparable to bulldozing an entire section of rainforest in order to catch one species of bird.
The truth is, not everyone is willing to give up eating shrimp. And you don’t necessarily have to. New, more sustainable production practices are being developed, but it’s up to the consumer to ask for them in supermarkets and restaurants.
What You Can Do!
- Eat less shrimp! The Worldwatch Institute estimates that for every 1,000 people who stop eating shrimp, we can save more than 5.4 tons of sea life per year.
- Replace your industrial shrimp purchases with Henry & Lisa’s Natural Seafood (Ecofish’s retail brand) available at 3500 stores nationwide, including Whole Foods and Target Superstores.
- Seek out the blue Marine Stewardship Council ecolabel, which indicates sustainable practices, when shopping or dining out. Here’s a list of stores and restaurants that stock MSC-certified products.
- When buying wild-caught shrimp, look for varieties from the Pacific coast, particularly Oregon and British Columbia.
- Ask your favorite restaurants and stores what kind of shrimp they are stocking, and if you’re not satisfied with their answer, let them know!
Help the fight against police brutality!
You should definitely do this, but please be safe and knowledgeable about it! Here are some resources for how to safely film/photograph police brutality, as well as information on YOUR rights as you do so:
Please be aware that different states have different laws on the matter. Check into them so you can know you specific laws, and what to expect if you film the police. Also check with your state’s chapter of the ACLU; many of them have tips on this matter, and some have pocket foldouts of your rights that you can use to convince the police that no, you aren’t doing anything wrong.
Girl Maces Dude For Being Rude (by RuthlessTelevison)
"Signed, sealed, delivered! "
There’s probably a conversation to be had here about white men and their belief that their needs and wants are more important than everyone else’s (in this particular case Black women) and white men not taking the anger of Black women seriously.
Thank god this is backt
"Signed, sealed, delivered" is the best part of this video…
SIGNED SEALED DELIVERED
A Vancouver charity, RainCity Housing, is converting city benches into pop-up shelters for homeless people.
Compassion. We hope you show it to others, and also to yourself.
also can we stop pretending skinny shaming is on the same level as fat shaming? im against shaming people’s bodies no matter what and i think doing so is disgusting but thin bodies are still far more accepted and catered to and it’s important to acknowledge that
A message to you today from Artemisia Gentileschi, kick-arse 17th Century feminist artist.
Oh hell yes. For those of you who don’t know (a) the story of Artemisia Gentileschi (b) the subject matter of her painting, let me give you a quick heads-up.
First, the topic of the picture is “Susanna and the Elders”. It’s a story from the Book of Daniel, Old Testament, the Bible.
A beautiful young married woman, Susanna, is having a bath in her own garden. She sends all her maids away for some privacy. Two Elders (and these are supposed to be respectable older men, the pillars of society in both religion and secular leadership) are spying on her. They threaten Susanna that, unless she agrees to have sex with them, they’ll spread a false story that she was meeting a young man on the sly.
Now, the point of the story is this: Susanna is a married woman. If she’s accused of adultery, she will be sentenced to death. The two elders know they can get away with this, because they’re respectable leaders of society and who is going to be believed: them or the woman?
Susanna refuses to be blackmailed into sex, and sure enough they carry out their threat. Susanna is only saved when a young man named Daniel interrupts the trial, says that the two men should be questioned separately, and he cleverly picks out the flaws in their testimony to prove they are lying and she is innocent.
Now, for the artist: Artemisia Gentileschi was a 17th century Roman woman, the eldest child of a painter who, unusually, encouraged and trained his daughter to be an artist as well as his sons (and she was better than her brothers).
Her father was working with another painter whom he also hired to tutor Artemisia. This guy raped her, but they continued to have a sexual relationship with the promise of marriage (this was because marriage was the only hope she had of keeping her reputation). Well, being a sleazeball, he never followed through on the promise of marriage and so her father took him to court.
Artemisia also supported the charge of rape, and while maintaining her testimony that she had been a virgin before being seduced/raped, she was subjected to torture by thumbscrews - this was standard practice to make sure witnesses/plaintiffs were telling the truth, but of course, it was important that she was tortured to make sure she wasn’t lying about him because she was a jilted vindictive woman, but he wasn’t tortured to make sure he wasn’t lying about being a rapist. Same old, same old, yes?
The point of this little history lesson? From the second century B.C. (the setting of Susanna’s story) to the 17th century to today, men have tricked, lied, bullied and threatened women with death if they didn’t have sex with them; treated them as whores and sluts if they did have sex with them, and the whole of society was stacked in favour of the men and not the women.
It’s not “one mentally disturbed young man” that’s the problem.
It’s the whole bloody attitude of entitlement: that women exist only and mainly as sexual property for men.
No photoshop. Just a kitty with HUGE EYES.
The lighting in this photograph is amazing~
WHOEVER MADE THIS I OFFICIALLY LOVE YOU
I’m only sharing tweets for those who are not on twitter and can’t see how passionate and outraged journalists are as they tweet from #Ferguson.
If you are on Twitter, here’s a good roster of people to follow if you want to keep updated.
The Ladies of Teen Titans.