Raising Shrimp

Why does our food come from so far away? Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the United States, where we eat over a billion pounds a year of it. But 90% of it is imported, and most of that is farmed, not wild caught. What are we really eating, and is it our only choice? How do they farm shrimp? Is it safe to eat? What happened to the American shrimp fishery?  What could a more local shrimp mean for our health, and the health of our nation? Is such a thing even possible? Ted Caplow has an engineer's attitude: if something is broken, how do we fix it? He's joined by Andy Danylchuk, an aquatic ecologist, as they search for a seafood we can all believe in. They begin on the Gulf Coast, where the pursuit of shrimp has led fishermen on a wild downward ride from riches to rags, as they chase shrimp across the ocean floor against mounting economic and environmental forces. An adventure into the jungles, mangrove lagoons, and coral reefs of Belize finds a different sort of shrimp industry, where the animals are bred by the millions in elaborate laboratories, before being grown in enormous ponds and then harvested, frozen, and shipped in a single night. But here, too, the cutthroat global trade of seafood, as if it were just another commodity like wheat or tin, takes its toll. Only the shrewd survive. Ted and Andy return home for an even more harrowing series of interviews with food safety experts, further sharpening their plea for a more local food system. Ultimately, they find hope in a most unlikely place, as their journey makes a sharp turn into modern agricultural science. Along the way, Ted and Andy help us look at shrimp with a new excitement, revealing why this little critter is more than just a tasty dining choice, and could be a hint of salvation for our entire food culture. Before that can happen, the film shows us that we have some major challenges to overcome...not least inside ourselves, as we come to terms with what it means to eat - and live - like a modern human."

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