Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Shrimp Publication!

Remember WAY back in the day when I shared these photos of shrimp embryos?

spot shrimp and coonstripe shrimp embryos

I was processing shrimp collected from different sites around Port Valdez for hydrocarbon analysis. Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are simply compounds made up of hydrogen and carbon that occur in crude oil. They = not so good for human consumption, or for animals, or for nature in general (see the Exxon Valdex Oil Spill). So this project looked at whether or not shrimp collected near oil tanker operations were safe to eat. My role was properly dissecting the shrimp and separating them by body part - tails (the most-often eaten item), heads (sucked on - not my style), and eggs (oy, I'll get to this one). And now the results have been published! Woo!

pink shrimp embryos

Let's cut to the chase: the majority of everything was safe with the small exception of eggs! ... And here's where I get on my soapbox: we shouldn't be harvesting reproductive females in any fishery that we hope can be sustainable. The lobstermen on the East Coast know this and v-notch the tails of reproductive female lobsters before returning them so that (a) they have a chance to hatch those delicious babies and (b) even when they're not gravid (showing eggs on the underside of their tails), it's known that these gals can get the job done for future years of successful harvests. Long story short - you shouldn't be eating the potentially tainted shrimp eggs from Port Valdez anyway! (Honestly, most shrimp you buy in general are terrible [high bycatch in trawl shrimping, pollution from farmed shrimp, slavery in shrimp processing, etc.] so unless you or your friend are catching shrimp using pots, you should just avoid 'em.)

(Disclaimer: that's just my opinion, well thought out though it may be, and doesn't reflect the opinion of any organization for which I've done research.)