What do we feed our shrimp?
At the Hilldale Farmers’ Market last weekend, somebody asked us about the protein source in our shrimp feed. We value transparency about our product, so we created this blog post to give you more information about how we feed our shrimp.
When we select a feed, we consider three important factors: whether it meets the nutrient requirements of shrimp, how it affects the water quality, and how economical it is. Every animal needs certain amounts and combinations of proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Just like a tiger can’t live on grass, there are certain feeds that are not appropriate for our shrimp. There is a significant amount of research dedicated to exploring shrimp nutrient requirements, and some of the developments in this field are quite interesting. Currently, fishmeal (ground or dried fish) is by far the most nutritious and economical protein source. Researchers are looking for, but have yet to find, alternate sources of protein that are on par with fishmeal nutritionally and that are available in large enough quantities to supply the growing inland shrimp farming industry.
The fishmeal in the feed that we use to raise our shrimp from PL30s (shrimp that are 30 days past the larval stage of their life) up to harvest is made from menhaden. Menhaden are a small, saltwater fish in the herring family. They swim in large schools along the East Coast of the US as well as in the Gulf of Mexico. The menhaden stock is monitored by the National Marine Fisheries Service (part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA), which reports that “the (menhaden) stock is not considered to be overfished, nor is overfishing occurring.” In addition, the menhaden in our shrimp feed complies with the Criteria for Sustainable Fishoil put out by Friend of the Sea (www.friendofthesea.org), a non-government organization whose mission is to conserve marine habitat.
We are always exploring new ways to make our shrimp product even more sustainable than it already is. Dairyland Shrimp strongly believes in producing a responsible product for our customers, and we believe it is important to share our process and decisions with you. As always, please contact us if you would like more information or have any additional questions. We love hearing from you!