The Skinny on Shrimp
In the last two decades, however, due to a nearly insatiable appetite for shrimp in affluent countries and the meteoric rise of shrimp aquaculture in poorer ones, mangrove forests have been reduced around the globe by more than a third. In satellite images like these from Honduras, the rapid spread of shrimp ponds is readily apparent. Less visible are effects of water polluted by chemicals, fertilizers, feed, waste and antibiotics.
Unfortunately, trawler-caught shrimp are also environmentally unsound, as the practice often destroys the seabed and results in considerable by-catch; that is, unwanted fish which are thrown back in the sea dead or dying.
To help educate the public about the problem, the Environmental Justice Foundation publishes a consumer's guide to prawns (pdf) (the word is interchangeable with shrimp). They recommend reducing or eliminating overall shrimp consumption and/or only buying shrimp that have been farmed organically or caught in traps (or 'pots'), as opposed to nets.