Local Shrimp Offer Fresh Alternative - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Paragould, AR--Brett Garrett Reports

Local Shrimp Offer Fresh Alternative

 September 27, 2005--Posted at 6:35 p.m. CDT

PARAGOULD, AR--Hurricanes have ravaged the seafood market making it nearly impossible to find shrimp caught off the gulf coast. But a new alternative may be available.

The freshwater prawns or freshwater shrimp are raised locally here in Northeastern Arkansas. With 88% of the shrimp consumed by Americans being imported, the alternative of a freshwater shrimp could bring a fresher option. 

The freshwater shrimp are typically larger than marine shrimp they have a firmer texture similar to a lobster. They also have 1/8th the iodine and are easier to peel. But more importantly how do they taste?

"Any recipe you can do shrimp, lobster, or crawfish with, you can do with this particular product," said Ron Pigue Jr. of Delta Crawfish.

Ron has 9 freshwater shrimp ponds situated on 7 acres. The industry is extremely small and is in its infancy, but there is potential for this product.

"As far as in this area I don't know of anyone in this area other than me who have been crazy enough to try this," said Pigue Jr.

The prawn are typically raised in a nursery for 60 days before being transferred to the freshwater pond to grow over the next 4 to 5 months. An obvious alternative to a shrimp market devastated by hurricanes.

The freshwater variety cost a little bit more than the salt water variety and aren't nearly as fresh. So is this a future option for seafood lovers?

"There's not enough prawns or freshwater shrimp grown to go to a larger market to be able to go to a regional market or a nationwide market and that is what we are looking to go to in the future," said Pigue Jr.

In addition to the shrimp Ron is raising tilapia in some of the same ponds with the shrimp.


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