Shrimp?! In Wisconsin?!
You probably have figured out by now that the shrimp we are farming are not a species you would find hanging out with all of the perch and salmon in Lake Michigan. The Pacific white shrimp, scientific name Penaeus vannamei, growing in our facility in Westby, WI, are the offspring of shrimp from the Pacific Ocean–I guess the name kind of gives it away!
Ranging from the coast of Mexico south to Peru, wild P. vannamei grow and reproduce in warm, tropical waters. Shrimp have a very complex development. Caterpillars turning into butterflies don’t even compare to what shrimp go through. A female shrimp can lay up to a quarter of a million eggs. These eggs hatch into nauplii, which turn into protozoea, mysis, and then post-larval shrimp (check out the pictures to see what these life stages look like–they are pretty crazy-looking!). Shrimp farmers call the post-larval shrimp “PLs,” and this is the stage at which they usually stock shrimp into their tanks. In nature, PLs would head into the estuaries and mangroves to hide out and mature. Once they were closer to adult size, they would head back into the open ocean to become adults and make more little shrimp.
The shrimp in our tanks in Westby have never seen the open ocean. They come from a line of shrimp that has been living in captivity for decades. These shrimp are “specific pathogen free,” which means that they are tested to be free of certain infections such as white spot syndrome virus and taura syndrome virus. They are also resistant to some diseases and grow much faster than shrimp straight out of the wild. We don’t draw upon wild stocks of shrimp at all, and this contributes to the sustainability and responsibility of our product.
We recommend checking out this link if you want to learn even more about the Pacific white shrimp.