Saturday, March 08, 2008

You WANT this shrimp, now tell me why

Here's a seafood dinner that you can't resist:

a West African Black Tiger Prawn. I have never seen shrimp this big (these things are each the size of my forearm), and we’ve had a lot of fun selling them, putting them on the menu as "A Shrimp." They weigh about a pound apiece, and we’re serving them marinated in lemon, thyme and olive oil, grilled, over squid ink risotto.
That's from Barton Seaver of Hook. He continues:

this (shrimp) from Partenaire Co. is in our hands within 24 hours of its capture, and $.80 of every dollar that I spend goes to the West African village fishermen, thus directly to the communities which need it most.
By the way, this shrimp is sustainably caught, and by now YOU WANT IT, and you're ready to try it. But how did it go for you? Are you (1), (2), (3), or (4) below?

(1) Ready to try it before you heard sustainable?
(2) Wanted it, but since most shrimp are unsustainable you waited until you heard sustainable?
(3) Want it, but ready to fire off a comment asking "who says it's sustainable?"
(4) Other--maybe still don't want it?

I think this is the future of sustainable seafood, and so does Barton Seaver. It's shrimp or other products that come with a story. It's not just about sustainability standards, and 3rd party audits with paper trails. People will buy sustainability stories that include biological sustainability but go beyond avoiding overfishing and into social and economic issues. But most of all, people will buy stories.'s the most important point...people will buy sustainable seafood that tingles their desire. These kind of stories will live and die with the credibility of the person or business making the claim. If you trust Hook, you'll buy the story of the African shrimp.

Am I right? And if you don't mind, take a second and post a comment saying when the deal closed for you (or didn't close), 1, 2, 3, or 4. Thanks.


Kate said...

(4) Other--

Wasn't tempted by it, and wouldn't eat it until I knew it was sustainable anyway. Then when I read where the profit went (from what I consider a credible source: you), would consider ordering it... well, maybe not served like that, but I'd consider the African prawn in general.

Unfortunately I can't actually read the story of the African shrimp. I don't know if it's a browser problem or what, but when I hit "read more" the page is blank.

Mark Powell said...

not much info available publicly on the WASSDA website. I trust Barton Seaver, so I'm going mostly on his word, he's been to Africa to check out the sources of his African seafood. I'll try to learn more.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, a "shrimp" as big as this person's forearm. Why are immense meals thought to be so desirable? Maybe I am missing some gene.

Mark Powell said...

Funny, I noticed the recipe more than the size. A one pound shrimp is not all edible, so the meat is probably about right for a nice dinner (6-8 ounces I would guess).

Miriam Goldstein said...

(3). WANT WANT WANT. Nice and simple, with butter and garlic and lemon. Mmmm. However, I fear that it sounds too good to be true, and I don't know anything about Seaver other than what I've read on this blog, so I would do more research before eating it. But WANT.

Mark Powell said...

finally, at least someone besides me WANTS IT. I was beginning to think that I was alone in fiercely wanting this shrimp.

Anonymous said...

I love shrimp, but largely stopped eating them years ago when I became aware of all the external costs of farming & most wild capture. Now I enjoy Sylver Fishing Co.'s pot-caught Alaskan spot prawns once or twice a year.

I would consider eating these tasty looking African monsters IF the african village in which they were raised was not 6000 miles away! How sustainable can anything flown in from another continent be?! said...

I've seen the massive destruction caused by bottom trawling and farming shrimp, so the word SHRIMP itself sets off bells and red flags (as it should). I associate shrimp with dead sea turtles, razed mangroves and antibiotic laden farms.

Isn't the question more whether this big shrimp (and others like it) adds to the net demand for shrimp (not so interesting) or replaces unsustainable products with sustainable ones (far more interesting)?

Other than that, it does look tasty. But I'd pick the pesto gnocchi w/ organic artichokes and save some $.