By James Mayse
For John and Mary Ebelhar, who have raised hogs and chickens, raising saltwater shrimp has been a learning experience.
“This is just like raising fish in an aquarium,” John Ebelhar said, standing near the shrimp tanks in what used to be a farrow barn. “I lost the first batch of shrimp. I killed them, because I didn’t have the water right.”
“I was just guessing” about the oxygen level in the two shrimp tanks, he said. “Guessing doesn’t get it.”
Now with better information on how to take care of his shrimp, John Ebelhar is successfully raising his second batch.
The couple plan to hold their first harvest in late summer or early fall. While other farmers in the region have raised freshwater prawns in outdoor ponds, the Ebelhars appear to be the only family with an indoor shrimp farming operation.
According to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, about 150 farmers around the state raise freshwater prawns. The department is not aware of anyone besides the Ebelhars who are raising saltwater shrimp to sell, said Angela Caporelli, aquaculture coordinator and marketing specialist.
The Ebelhars started their shrimp operation in March in western Daviess County. The family already had the old farrow barn but still spent about $15,000 on equipment for the shrimp farm.
The shrimp were shipped from Florida in plastic bags, Mary Ebelhar said. When they arrived the shrimp “were about the size of a piece of hair,” she said.
The Ebelhars are raising about 30,000 Pacific White shrimp in two tanks. John Ebelhar said the family plans to raise the shrimp to a size of 27 grams - a “jumbo” size - before selling them.
“Twenty-seven grams is the jumbo size, the eating size you get in a restaurant,” John Ebelhar said.
Saltwater shrimp, he said, are different than freshwater prawns.
“Prawns are a totally different animal than shrimp,” John Ebelhar said. “As far as eating them, you get a lot more meat off of a shrimp than off a prawn.”
The Ebelhars set up their shrimp operation with the help of Anthony Pegel, a Tennessee engineer who did graduate work on shrimp production. Pegel said saltwater shrimp can be raised in a smaller pool of water than freshwater prawns, but said water quality is crucial in keeping saltwater varieties alive.
“With freshwater shrimp, you can generally raise one shrimp per square meter,” Pegel said. He said with saltwater shrimp, a grower can raise “300 times the shrimp” in the same area.
“The main disadvantage is, since you get them that crowded, water quality becomes very important,” Pegel said. “Their waste products can build up quick if you don’t take care of the water. You have to have pumps and a wastewater treatment tank. With freshwater shrimp, you just throw them in (the pond) and leave them.”
John Ebelhar said the couple plan to sell shrimp by the pound to interested individuals. They have also approached several area restaurants about the possibility of selling them shrimp, he said.
“I have three restaurants who said they might be interested, but they want to come out and look at it,” John Ebelhar said. “I’ve got people who said they want 30 or 40 pounds.”
Ebelhar said he hasn’t yet set a price for the shrimp. While freshwater ponds only sell one day a season, Ebelhar said that once established, he will be able to sell on a monthly basis.
White gold. That’s what some call one of the most-eaten seafoods because it’s so lucrative. A.k.a. shrimp, the new gold rush has reached landlocked desert farms in Arizona.
The farmers at Wood’s Brothers – one of four shrimp farms in Arizona – pump water from deep underground. It’s a little too salty to use as potable water because it is a vestige of a sea that covered the region eons ago. The water flows into shrimp ponds enclosed in greenhouses to reduce evaporation. And the part that really makes it work: the waste water irrigates crops which would need water anyway – the precious molecules simply do double duty, once for shrimp to swim and poop in, and the other to water and fertilize plants.
They claim their shrimp are “the world’s best-tasting shrimp.” Their crustaceans don’t eat a jot of hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, or a whole bunch of other junk that almost all aquacultured shrimp eat in order to stay healthy and grow quickly.
I can’t corroborate the gourmet taste as I have not tried them, but I do find the notion of organic shrimp rather inviting since the FDA discovered illegal antibiotics had contaminated imports from China. 90% of all US shrimp is imported, with just over 10% coming from China, which is all farmed.
China isn’t the only culprit. In 2001, Thailand shipped shrimp to Sweden that were tainted with illegal antibiotics in their flesh. An article in the New York Times today reports over $20 billion-worth of food imports were halted by the FDA in 2006 alone for everything from salmonella to plain old “filth”. On the list is candy, shrimp, spices, crackers, noodles. The list goes on. But lets stick to shrimp before we get too overwhelmed by the dubious nature of our food supply.
Sounds like a good project for enterprising Kinists
Yes :D And it’d also make a nice alternative, for me, to raising chickens or rabbits. I wouldn’t like killing land animals after having raised them, but shrimp I wouldn’t mind, nor would I mind the other seafood that can be farmed.
If kinists find themselves surrounded by pollution or isolated from the ocean, this might allow for affordable seafood, which is fairly healthy and offers variety.
Usually farmed fish isn’t as healthy as wild, but that doesn’t seem to apply with these shrimp.
If I may, I’d like to suggest one aspect of this idea that hasn’t yet been mentioned.
God’s Word tells us that His people are not to eat certain types of foods that the heathen nations eat. Included in the list are shellfish.
I’m reasonably sure that most people reading this board are familiar with the dietary laws and where they are found in the Scriptures. I’m also reasonably sure that right now, some readers are rolling their eyes and reaching for their keyboards in preparation for telling me that those laws no longer apply, that Israel was a one-time deal, that the church is Israel now, that we’re under grace and not under law, etc.
Let me say with respect, “Conserve your efforts.” My purpose in posting this message is not to initiate a debate. My purpose is what I’ve already stated: to illuminate something that perhaps hasn’t even been considered in the discussion.
God’s law is eternal, cannot be broken, and is binding today.
Now let’s examine why you should avoid shellfish. Shellfish consists of lobster, shrimp, oysters, clams, crabs, scallops, and mussels. All shellfish can be a serious health risk. Like pigs, they are scavengers that live at the bottom of the ocean and eat the waste of other animals and the pollutants that man dumps into the ocean. Although only 0.1 % of all shellfish consumed is eaten raw, that tiny percentage is responsible for a large proportion of reported food-caused illnesses. Poisoning from shellfish can come from bacterial or viral contamination. Generally adequate cooking eliminates this danger, but is it worth the risks in the long run. Poisoning can also arise from heat-stable toxins derived from the food that the shellfish have been eating. Shellfish are notorious for being high in mercury, heavy metals, and industrial contaminants in the environment because they’re bottom feeders that eat the ocean’s waste. I’m sure I don’t have to explain in detail how damaging these heavy metals and toxins can be to your health.
God didn’t give the Israelites dietary laws because he was a mean, restrictive God that didn’t want them to enjoy their food. He gave them these laws because He knew best how the human body functions and that by following His dietary laws they would live their best without succumbing to disease and pre-mature death so they can serve Him. God knows far more than we can understand or comprehend. While things definitely changed after Jesus came to the earth, we should examine the Old Testament scriptures further to try and understand why God wanted things done a certain way, especially with the foods we eat.
Mark 7 misunderstood? Perhaps what’s meant is that where only shellfish and pork can be found, then it is allowable for survival.
Romans 14:13(P) Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide(Q) never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus(R) that nothing is unclean in itself,(S) but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15For if your brother is grieved by what you eat,(T) you are no longer walking in love.(U) By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16(V) So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17(W) For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but(X) of righteousness and(Y) peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18Whoever thus serves Christ is(Z) acceptable to God and approved by men. 19So then let us(AA) pursue what makes for peace and for(AB) mutual upbuilding.
20(AC) Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God.(AD) Everything is indeed clean, but(AE) it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21(AF) It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.[c] 22The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God.(AG) Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.[d]
Well, I certainly am willing to learn, and surely wish for explanations on why the OT food laws should be followed.
I’ve been thinking on the Newswithviews commentary, and that doesn’t fully explain the ban because shellfish can be better than some fish to eat. The Newswithviews article then is guilty of coming to a conclusion and then defending it.
Frank wrote, “While things definitely changed after Jesus came to the earth…”
If I may, I’d like to gently ask, “What changed? And changed how?” We find explicit references to the fact that the ceremonial sacrifices were abolished, because Christ perfectly fulfilled the sacrifice. But do we find anything in the Word that tells us any part of the Law is done away with? No.
Laurel, the portion of Romans you referenced is where Paul is addressing the problem of believers eating meat offered to idols, NOT unclean meats in the sense of the prohibited meats listed in the Law. Paul is addressing a matter of conscience here. We must be careful not to jump over what he’s specifically talking about and assume that he is lumping (a) beef or lamb or goat offered to an idol in with (b)swine or shrimp or bat. God’s Word never contradicts itself, and there’s not one sentence where God implies anything like, “Remember that stuff I said back there? I didn’t really mean it. At least, not anymore, not for y’all.”
If by Paul’s statement “Everything is indeed clean” we infer that the Holy Spirit is teaching that there are no unclean foods, then either God is a liar, or He changes His mind. I believe this is a dangerous road to set foot upon. So if we assume that He is neither mutable nor a liar, then the context of Paul’s statements must lead us to another conclusion. We must remember that apparently unclear statements in Scripture must always be validated by clearer statements. Comparing Scripture with Scripture, etc.
But again, as Kinswoman said, this is taking on the tone of a debate. And I didn’t mean to start a debate here. This issue has been thoroughly discussed in many forums over the years, to the point where I’d be surprised if most readers here haven’t at least read some of the various positions. If anyone wants to hear my thoughts in full on this matter, I am more than willing to exchange correspondence. Or perhaps I should post my position on my blog. At any rate, I was merely trying to point out that we must not jump on a bandwagon (like shrimp farming) simply because it sounds lucrative or “agrarian.” We must first measure our plans by the standard of Scripture.
Then, of course, the question arises, “How rigorously do we want to follow Scripture?” Ah, controversy….