Wild-Caught Shrimp or Farm-Raised — What’s the Difference?

May 5, 2020 at 4:00 AM

At Tommy’s Seafood, we’re passionate about great-tasting seafood. This is why we’ve invested so much time, research and effort into developing the processes we use to catch, clean and freeze fresh Gulf fish and shellfish for our customers.

We also strive to ensure seafood lovers everywhere know what’s out there when it comes to choosing the best products for your restaurant, or your family’s dinner table.

That’s why we wanted to go into detail about one of America’s favorite types of seafood — shrimp! Most people are familiar with the taste of farmed shrimp simply because it’s so common. But, what a lot of people don’t realize is how delicious wild-caught shrimp are compared to farm-raised, or how much better for the planet buying wild shrimp can be.

Let’s take a look at the difference between wild-caught and farm-raised so you know how your seafood purchase impacts your taste buds and the world's oceans.

How does farm-raised shrimp compare to the flavor of wild-caught shellfish?

Farm-raised shrimp are raised outside of the United States in aquaculture ponds. Shrimp farmers generally use chemicals to prevent pathogens from infecting the shrimp, hormones to artificially increase their size, and they add additives to the shrimp's food to create that attractive pink color that consumers look for when buying shrimp.

Just as the quality of the soil your vegetables grow in impacts the flavor of your produce, the environment shrimp are raised in impacts how they taste. Wild-caught Gulf shrimp live in their natural environment, have plenty of space to move around and are allowed to consume their natural diet.

This results in a richer flavor, a better texture and an overall higher quality product. Honestly, there’s nothing like the taste of grilled wild-caught shrimp with a tropical fruit salsa or a spicy shrimp gumbo made with succulent shellfish caught right here in the Gulf of Mexico.

Farm-raised fish is often chewier and lacks the vibrant flavor that wild, sustainable seafood promises.

How does wild-caught compare to farm-raised when it comes to the environmental impact?

Wild-caught shrimp is the ocean-friendly, sustainable seafood option. No chemicals are used to help the shrimp grow, so we’re not adding antibiotics and hormones into the ecosystem when we harvest fresh, wild shrimp.

Farm-raised shrimp also require an incredible amount of resources to grow. Because they’re fed processed wild fish, farmed shrimp contribute to the depletion of our oceans. To create the ponds to raise the shrimp in, the natural environment has to be destroyed, which has led to the destruction of countless mangrove forests — mangroves are valuable because they absorb carbon from the atmosphere and lock it away for centuries. Cutting them down releases this carbon into the atmosphere.

Combine the resulting overfishing and deforestation with the contaminates added to the water and soil, and local water and agricultural systems where the shrimp are raised are, over time, destroyed by unsustainable farming practices.

Try wild-caught shrimp and experience the difference

Wild, sustainable seafood tastes better. It’s healthier, and it’s safer for the environment. To find out more about our sustainable seafood options, including wild-caught shrimp, blue crab and fresh oysters, or to order your own fresh seafood, contact Tommy’s Seafood today. We look forward to sharing our passion with you.