Ask Umbra: Are shrimp farms killing the oceans?

For years I didn’t eat Shrimp, even though I love how they taste. Now I eat them rarely but only if they meet the guidelines listed here. I thought this was a very helpful article.


Send your question to Umbra!

Q.I have recently read an editorial about the shrimp farming industry and the absolute hell it brings upon the mangroves of Southeast Asia and the use of horrendous chemicals. I immediately thought, “Shit, now I have to stop eating shrimp too!?” So I checked my freezer to look at what might be my last bag of frozen shrimp, and I saw the mark for the Best Aquaculture Practices website.

I read the various pages, however, and it could very well be greenwashing. Do I have to stop eating aquacultured shrimp, even with this seemingly eco-friendly label?

Aonghus M.

A. Dearest Aonghus,

Sigh. Party appetizers, like life, are so much easier when you don’t ask questions. Now that you know the harsh truth lurking behind that innocent-looking shrimp cocktail, there’s no going back. But I’ve got good news: While it’s not always easy…

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About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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