I’m writing to you from Amelia Island, Florida near Jacksonville. Took the wife and kids on vacation. This morning we went on an Eco Tour and learned about the shrimping industry. We took a ferry boat through the inter-coastal waterways and with the help of Andrea, our marine biologist, and Captain Sean, did some trawling. We caught a sting ray, a butterfly ray, a couple blue crabs, some flounder, a tongue fish, two squid, and a whole bunch of shrimp.
At one point Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island was the shrimp capital of North America with over 3 million pounds of shrimp caught annually. There used to be 150 shrimp boats parked off the pier. Today only five working shrimp boats remain. (Gee, sound like any other industries you know?)
The vast majority of shrimp sold in supermarkets is grown in gigantic shrimp farms – many located in China. It isn’t that there aren’t shrimp available in these waters. No one seems willing to pay the extra dollar or two per pound to eat wild caught shrimp. Captain Sean says these waters could still support 3 million pounds of shrimp annually.
He should know. He grew up in the area and still fishes these waters. He promises that if you ever ate the wild caught shrimp and farm-grown shimp side by side, you would throw out the farm-grown shrimp immediately. He is that sure of it. And he believes with all his heart that the shrimping industry would come back if people did a taste test.
Would you pay a dollar or two more per pound for wild caught shrimp? What if it did taste better?
What reason are you giving your customers to pay a dollar or two more in your store? Does it “taste” better?
If not, you have some work to do. If so, you just need to convince the public.
PS Look for wild caught shrimp next time you’re buying shrimp in the market. Try it, you’ll like it. I trust Captain Sean.