Friday, 14 December 2012 00:00
This holiday season, many Americans will feast with family and friends to celebrate a most joyous time of year. Shrimp, a perennial Christmas favorite, will surely embellish the rims of cocktail glasses and serving platters everywhere. Unfortunately, satisfying our Pac-Man-like consumption of shrimp requires the use of harvesting methods that imperil the ecological security of our planet. We must change the way we approach shrimp in our diets. Perhaps, the perfect way to start is with this holiday season.
Only two short decades ago, shrimp was a delicacy reserved for special occasions. Today, it is the most widely eaten seafood in America. To acquire the sheer volume of shrimp that we, as a nation, annually consume, we have turned towards two dubious harvesting techniques: aquaculture and bottom trawling. One method is worse than the next – both exact a high planetary price.
Rather than indiscriminately buying the shrimp we find conveniently located in our grocery stores for the upcoming holidays, we should look to purchase shrimp that is sustainable, local and caught using environmentally sensitive methods. Not only will it honor the planet that sustains us (look at it as a way of giving back this season!), but will be much more delicious for all of your guests.
Aquaculture is a farming technique where shrimp grow in specially constructed ponds that are built upon bulldozed mangroves. Mangroves are vital breeding grounds for many species of fish and plant life and are considered to be the rainforests of the sea. Aquaculture farms wring these areas dry. Once the farm has depleted all of the natural resources in that area, it simply picks up and leaves. This highly unsustainable method is responsible for the elimination of multiple species, the destruction of delicate marine ecosystems, and the further contamination of our waters, as an abundance of chemical runoff and shrimp excrement is left to free-flow into our waterways.
Trawling, a second method, drags a voluminous net along the seafloor to capture the shrimp that dwell there. Unfortunately, trawling results in remarkable levels of bycatch, the indiscriminate and unintended slaughter of all marine life in the net’s path. Shrimp trawling nets alone are responsible for upwards of 1.9 million tons of unusable bycatch each year that is more than likely thrown, dead, back into the water once the shrimp have been filtered out. Sea turtles suffer disproportionately from trawling, which is responsible for the critical endangerment of all seven sea turtle species. Upwards of 50,000 loggerhead turtles are killed each year in trawling nets. Moreover, it uproots the seafloor as the net is dragged along, destroying invaluable ecosystems.
When purchasing shrimp for the upcoming holidays, pay close attention to the label (shrimp are required to have labels identifying how and where it has been caught). Shrimp caught as locally as the Gulf Coast can be sustainable, so long as it is harvested without trawling. The shrimp we buy should be harvested by a fisherman who drags a handheld net across the top of the water, or employs the use of traps. Though it may be slightly more expensive, your money would then be supporting a process that nurtures our planet, rather than compromises it. We must refuse to pay the price of convenience, and start paying for what is important.
If bolstering the environment isn’t incentive enough, gulf shrimp is probably the most delicious you can eat! Shrimp that reproduce and develop freely in a natural, unsuppressed environment are plumper and much more flavorful than the less-healthy alternative. A few dollars is certainly worth the difference between serving a bland entree and one worthy of Iron Chef at your holiday party.
So, when composing your shopping list for this upcoming season, make sure to put down “locally caught and sustainable shrimp.” We can make an enormous difference, can have our shrimp and eat it too, if we include enlightened environmental stewardship in our celebration of all that is good and blessed this holiday season.
Duke University Student
Friday, 07 March 2014 00:00
Linda Cafiero has been a yoga and tai chi instructor, as well as reiki master, for well over 10 years. Last week she brought her meditation expertise to the Hicksville Public Library. Cafiero hosted a meditation workshop at the library for an intimate group of individuals seeking to gain a few moments of peace and serenity in their hectic and fast-paced world.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 09:38
Residents in the Hicksville School District will have a few more dollars added to their taxes as a result of a new school tax exemption for veterans. Across New York State, school districts are being asked to provide this special exemption, which provides three tiers of tax breaks for vets based on whether or not they saw combat or suffered a disability.
While a similar exemption already exists at the county level, the state left individual school districts to decide if it would be in the best interest of the taxpaying community.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 09:40
Hicksville’s Matthew Sloan faced off against the best young soccer players in the world recently, as he traveled to Turkey with the Olympic Developmental Program.
The Hicksville High School freshman started playing soccer when he was three and advanced his game to a more competitive level at age 10, when he was chosen to play with the Long Island Rough Riders. Sloan plays other sports and is on the boys basketball team, but says that he loves soccer because of the fast pace, and because of the coaches who have had a great influence on him throughout his training.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 09:45
The Hicksville Middle School Kickline claimed victory again recently at the Scholastic Kickline Competition held at Nassau Community College. The team competed against top kickline teams and placed second in hip hop, third in pom and third in kick. County legislator Rose Walker, an honorary Hicksville Kickline team member, supported the girls at the competition. The middle school kickline team’s season began in September, and includes dancing at football and basketball games and competing in three tourneys. Their last competition of the season was March 2 at Nassau Community College. The girls are coached by Hicksville kickline alumni Katelyn Heuser, Victoria Shannon and Laura Bueche.