Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the U.S. and represents over 25 percent of the nation’s annual per capita seafood consumption – the average American eats more than four pounds a year. There are numerous species of shrimp which can be collectively sold under the single term – shrimp. Occasionally they are sold as prawns, which is a term that refers to larger varieties that are more common in certain international markets.
There are a variety of different types and sources of shrimp available in U.S. markets.
Cold water shrimp are the smaller varieties harvested in ocean waters in the northwest and northeast regions of the United States and Canada. They are known as Pandalid shrimp – commonly used in salads, soups or chowders. Coldwater shrimp are only available previously cooked and peeled.
Warm water shrimp are harvested and farmed in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world, and are more commonly sold by reference to basic shell colors (white, brown and pink shrimp). Additional names can include tiger, banana and hopper shrimp. Buyer preferences are usually directed by taste, texture, size and costs which will vary from one species to another.
Wild shrimp refers to either cold water or warm water varieties that are harvested from coastal ocean waters with traditional vessels. They are often preferred for traditional flavors and recipes. The harvesting of wild shrimp is regulated by management programs that set annual production limits. Less than 10 percent of the shrimp eaten in the United Sates comes from wild harvests.
Farmed shrimp refers to warm water varieties that are grown in open and closed pond systems supplemented with formulated feeds. Shrimp diets and pond waters can be controlled to influence production rates and sensory attributes of the shrimp. Over 90 percent of the shrimp eaten in the United States come from farmed sources grown in other countries around the world.
Domestic shrimp is a term used to refer to wild shrimp harvested about the coasts of the United States.
Imported shrimp refers mainly to farm-raised shrimp from productive regions in China, Thailand and many other Asian nations, and the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific coasts of Central and South America.