Thursday, December 8, 2011

Farmed Shrimp Gain "Green Seal" and Organic Certification

Organic farmed shrimp
Farming shrimp is big business in Flavor of Brazil's home state of Ceará, on Brazil's northeast coast, and the industry is growing by leaps and bounds as consumers' appetites for the tasty crustacean outpaces the ability of the sea to provide a sustainable shrimp fishery. The industry dates back only about fifteen to twenty years, but in each recent year its growth has been in double-digit figures.

Unfortunately not all shrimp cultivators consider the environmental impact of their shrimp farm operations, and the local industry has not always enjoyed a good reputation among environmentally-aware consumers. Although it's entirely possible to cultivate shrimp in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable way many local producers either don't know what's required to make their production sustainable, or don't want to spend the extra money to ensure that their facilities don't negatively impact the environment.

Up to now, consumers who want to support those producers who go to the effort and expense to spare the environment haven't had access to information to know which shrimps on display at markets and supermarkets come from sustainable operations. In order to provide this information and to promote the practice of sustainable shrimp cultivation, the Ceará state Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries recently announced a program to market sustainably-raised shrimp with a "Green Seal", a stamp of approval indicating to the consumer that shrimp with a seal meets the environmental criteria of sustainability. The Green Seal was chosen because of the previous success of a similar program involving crab harvesting, where sustainable crab fisheries gained a Green Seal for their product. The crab project was detailed last on Flavors of Brazil and this link will take you to the article.
Shrimp farms on the Costa Negra

The government launched the Green Seal program in November of this year at a presentation and luncheon in the city of Acaraú, located on the part of the Ceará coast called the Costa Negra (the Black Coast), where there are large shrimp-cultivation installations. Those producers who meet the standards set out in the establishing regulations will be entitled to market their shrimp with a Green Seal attached, indicating to consumers that they can buy the product without worrying about the environmental impact of the purchase.

In a further evolution of the consumer market for environmentally-friendly shrimp, one Ceará producer, Nutrimar, has gone one step further and has had their production certified as organic. Nutrimar's shrimps are feed exclusively on marine algae and receive no commercial fish feed, which can have significant levels of agritoxins. Their frozen organic shrimp are marketed both domestically and internationally, and have been recognized and approved by the German-based NGO Naturland, whose standards are among the strictest in the world.


  1. This is such an interesting some ways Brazil is so ahead of the times.

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