Shrimp 'farms' catch on

December 23, 1990|By Knight-Ridder News Service

BRADENTON, Fla. -- By 1995, 50 percent of the shrimp we eat will be "farm raised," much of it in Third World countries where labor and land are cheap, according to a seafood sales manager.

"Many people don't realize that even now, China is the world's largest producer of shrimp, followed by Ecuador," said Bill Carlson, Midwest regional sales manager for Singleton Seafood, a ConAgra company based in Tampa, Fla.

Mr. Carlson was among representatives of the food, wine and beverage industry attending the 1990 Stone Crab and Seafood Festival last month at the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort on Longboat Key in Florida.

About other changes in the fish and seafood industry, Mr. Carlson said, "We are adding many more processed items to our line. We're finding that people want more products that can be baked and broiled, and fewer that are fried."

He also said fuel prices will push up the price of shrimp in the months to come.

No matter how fish and seafood are brought to market, Mr. Carlson said, the No. 1 sellers are shrimp in terms of revenue and tuna in terms of pounds harvested.

Fishermen used to like to remind us that fish comprise the last major food item taken commercially straight from locations where Mother Nature put it. Now, Mr. Carlson said, fish farming is taking place on both of our coasts and in other countries.

By one industry estimate, more than two dozen fish species are being grown on farms, and that number is expected to go up.

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