Would You Pay $25 A Pound For Shrimp Raised Locally Indoors?

Image courtesy of tjean314

You don’t have to be a shrimp boat captain to bring the crustaceans to market: with concerns over the environmental impact as well as slave labor in the international shrimping industry, some are trying out new methods of shrimp production, including raising them in indoor tanks.

NPR’s All Things Considered profiled an indoor shrimp farmer named Jean Claud Frajmund, who set up production in an old mattress factory in New York’s Hudson Valley area. He likens the dim, windowless environment to a spa for the shrimp: there’s plenty to eat, clean water, no predators, and no pollution.

He works 13 hours a day testing water quality, temperatures, and checking the filters, along with three employees, and says as such, it’s not a simple process keeping the shrimp swimming happily and healthily.

“It’s really delicate,” he told NPR. “We have to be very diligent, watch the temperature, watch the dissolved oxygen, do water tests and correct if needed. And we never had any chemicals. The correction basically – is basically baking soda in order to keep the pH in the right level.”

They grow quickly to full size, and are harvested every Saturday by Frajmund. Once he’s fished them out and packed them up in ice, he drives to the Union Square Market in New York City to sell them for $25 a pound (in comparison, a two-pound bag of frozen shrimp at Walmart goes for $14.98, whereas at Whole Foods a pound might of frozen jumbo shrimp was priced at about $19 when Consumerist called a NYC location). That price is worth it, says one of his customers.

“It’s local. It’s sustainable, and the flavor is really great. So it’s worth the value,” she told NPR.”

To that end, Frajumd says he sells 300 pounds a week, “no problem.”

Indoor Shrimp Production Opens New Possibilities For Food [All Things Considered]