Is there a sustainable future for America’s most popular seafood?


I stare at the beaker of cloudy water , trying to make sense of the slow swirl of particles inside – a mixture of small red specks and pale threads.

“Those white squiggles,” Jim Sweeney says, pointing with just the edge of his fingernail to help orient me. “Those are the post-larvae.”

He means, those are what I’ve come to see: shrimp.

Specifically, they’re Litopenaeus vannamei, or Pacific White Shrimp, a.k.a. everyone’s favorite all-you-can-eat buffet offering. As president of Sunrise Capital’s shrimp farm on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, Sweeney will oversee those white squiggles as, over the next six months, they are gradually decanted into larger and larger tanks, then into the shrimp version of an indoor lap pool, and finally into big, outdoor ponds. In the process, they will grow from a fraction of an inch to over six inches in length and thicker than my…

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