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Shrimping In Ohio

by the Fish Site Editor
25 July 2007, at 1:00am

OHIO - Armed with a long net, Bob Calala walks along a skinny board positioned over an 18,000-gallon tank filled with water. He stops in the center and, with a gentle sweep, pulls up several creatures that call the tank home - freshwater shrimp.

Bob Calala delivers 20,000 freshwater shrimp to Kathleen Houston, who is releasing them into her pond in Massillon.

The crustaceans, which flip and flop inside the net, are less than an inch long. But by the end of the summer, after fattening up in warm ponds throughout Ohio, some might reach 8 inches from head to tail and weigh up to a quarter pound each.

Once harvested, they will be bound for dinner tables statewide, sold as fresh, locally grown seafood in a state about 450 miles from the nearest ocean.

Seven years after Ohio began allowing nonindigenous shrimp farming, the industry continues to grow, thanks in part to America's insatiable appetite for shrimp and a desire by consumers for locally grown food.

Calala's Water Haven in Huron County - the only shrimp nursery in Ohio - has shipped 400,000 baby shrimp this year to nearly 30 growers statewide. Last year, it was 300,000.

"Everybody loves shrimp," Calala said during a recent tour of his 132-acre "fish factory" that includes 60 ponds where his family raises everything from largemouth bass to crawfish. "Everybody eats shrimp. The market is already there. You just need to grow them."

Shrimp is the country's most popular seafood -- about 4.4 pounds per person were consumed in 2006, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Shrimp overtook canned tuna as America's favorite seafood in 2000.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch

the Fish Site Editor