Question Your Shrimp Campaign
The leading cause of mangrove destruction is the meteoric growth of the shrimp farming industry in the developing world. In an effort to produce cheap shrimp, mangroves and their accompanying ecosystem services are stripped from coastlines and replaced by open system shrimp farms that pollute the surrounding environment. Mangroves provide unique ecosystem services like:
• Nursery habitat for 75% of the worldʼs tropical and sub-tropical commercial ﬁsh
• Filtration of pollutants, preserving purity of coastal waters
• Proliﬁc renewable resources for coastal communities including food, ﬁrewood, medicines, shelter, and tourism
• Protection of coastal communities from the ravages of tsunamis and hurricanes
• Efﬁcient carbon sequestration, capable of sequestering far more CO2 per hectare than tropical rain forests
• Last remaining endemic habitat for Wild Bengal tigers (Sundurbans mangroves)
Shrimp aquaculture represents a powerful global industry that has an annual retail value of over $50-$60 billion dollars. But the shrimp produced have never become a food source for those who are truly hungry. Meanwhile, the coastal poor are losing their once sustainable food sources as their traditional agriculture and ﬁsheries are being steadily despoiled by the shrimp industry’s operations, whose proﬁts concentrate in the hands of wealthy investors.
MAP has launched a consumer awareness campaign called “Question Your Shrimp” (QYS) to counter these market forces that are devastating mangrove forests and the tens of millions of indigenous people who rely on them. We believe that we can signiﬁcantly slow down shrimp farming expansion through public education and activism. In tandem, public concern will stimulate the development and dissemination of sustainable, ecological, and just alternatives.
The QYS campaign will tap also into the potential of socially responsible capitalism to enlist the business community in a shift to the marketing and sales of only more sustainably-produced shrimp. Thus, we will attack the problem from both the “demand” and “supply” sides of the shrimp consumption equation: reducing the consumer demand for imported farmed shrimp, while working with retailers and restaurants to serve and sell sustainable shrimp alternatives.
Change will be attained by achieving the following objectives:
#1: Increase US consumer awareness of the health dangers, environmental degradation, and social damage caused by the rearing and processing of imported farmed shrimp.
#2: Increase the number of U.S. restaurants and retail outlets who serve only locally produced wild or farmed North American shrimp.