Shrimp is popular, easy to cook, and delicious. It can also be caught and raised in remarkably unsustainable ways.
If you want shrimp as sustainable as it is tasty, look for certified U.S. wild-caught and U.S. farmed shrimp. American fisheries and shrimp farms follow better environmental and sustainable guidelines than many other large shrimp fisheries.
For more information, check out seafoodwatch.org. They create regionally based seafood recommendations that take environmental effects and... toxicity levels into account.
01 of 07
The majority of the U.S. domestic catch of shrimp are brown shrimp. They have a slightly brown tinge when they're raw (no surprise there!), but don't worry, turn a bright, shrimp-like pink when cooked. They have an earthier flavor than other varieties.
02 of 07
Pink shrimp are caught mainly off Florida's Gulf Coast. They are plump, meaty, and versatile. Look for them, usually frozen, throughout the U.S.
Frozen shrimp can be a great choice that gives markets and consumers wonderful flexibility—look for flash-frozen varieties for the best quality.
03 of 07
Most Maine shrimp are small cold-water shrimp, much like Oregon Pink Shrimp (see below). They are perfect for shrimp salads, shrimp cocktails, and in soups.
Others, like those pictured, are a brighter red—prized by locals.
04 of 07
Oregon Pink Shrimp
Oregon pink shrimp are wonderful flavorful shrimp from a very well managed fishery off the coast of Oregon. Like the shrimp fisheries in Florida and Maine, the one in Oregon follows environmentally sustainable practices and strict seasonal and catch limits.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Royal Red Shrimp
Royal red shrimp are caught out of the Gulf of Mexico. They are a deep water shrimp that taste rather like lobster. Highlight their rich flavor with simple preparations, or take advantage of it by using royal red shrimp in richly flavored dishes like etouffées, gumbos, and chowders.
06 of 07
Despite their name, spot prawns are biologically shrimp. Caught along the West Coast from Santa Barbara on up to British Columbia, spot prawns are a limited but well-managed fishery. They are sweet, buttery and terribly (although justifiably) expensive. They can be difficult to find since restaurants tend to swoop up all the spot prawns that they can find.
Look for spot prawns sold alive for the best quality. If they are sold not alive, good fishmongers will have removed their heads to slow or... limit decomposition.
07 of 07
White shrimp have a clean and classic shrimp flavor, with that perfectly nutty edge. I like to cook larger white shrimp on the grill, with a brush of butter and a squeeze of lemon.