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Shrimping in the classroom

Posted by: Erin Blevins | June 4, 2014 | No Comment |
Maymester capstone class

Maymester capstone class

Who knew Shrimping could be such a lightning rod in the classroom. Farm raised vs wild caught got students riled up about the impact of  imported farmed raised shrimp on the shrimpers in Charleston; whether imported farmed raised tasted better than locally wild caught shrimp; and whether local acquaculture was the answer to local shrimpers as a dying breed.” said Dr. Hollis France

 

Dr. France’s Maymester capstone class “No Passport Required: Globalization from a Community Perspective” explored how global processes impact the local landscape of South Carolina and the Lowcountry.  One of the examples for the class was Seafood and the Shrimping Industry.

 

 

In class taste test:  Local Wild caught vs. U.S. Farm raised Shrimp

In class taste test: local wild caught shrimp vs. U.S. farm raised shrimp

 

  The Taste Test:  In class, students tried local wild caught shrimp and U.S. farm raised shrimp.  Most students thought the local wild caught shrimp tasted better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpt from one of the student groups final class projects:

 “The Disconnect Consumer

When reflecting back over the topics covered in this course, including readings, field trips, and discussions with stakeholders, we noticed that as citizens and consumers we are often blind to the impacts of our choices as consumers. Newton’s third law of motion states, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. As humans, we are not exempt from this law of nature, but globalization has reshaped the relationship between our actions and the effects they have. For example, our decisions as consumers within the United States can have huge impacts on individuals, environments, species, or even societies in countries all around the world. The “beauty” of our globalized system is that we usually don’t even have to know what those impacts are, or even care.

When you think of globalization you often think of a more connected world, but are we really? The theme we have seen running through each topic has been this notion of disconnection. Ultimately, we see globalization as a paradox, because while we are so interconnected through the global economy, we live in a time where we have never been further disconnected from the impacts of our actions.

The Shrimp Industry

Globalization has changed the way we produce and consume our food. The global seafood industry is a prime example of the disconnection within our interconnected world. A survey found that “about half of consumers think that product origin directly relates to product quality, and half said that they were always or usually aware of the country of origin of the foods they buy” (Scott-Thompson). The remaining half of consumers remain disconnected from the quality and origin of their food.

We also don’t consider how our purchases of global commodities are affecting our local community. Shrimp is currently the most popular seafood in the United States, but this is not reflected in our domestic shrimp market. Shrimpers are actually struggling more than ever and are considered a ‘dying breed’. Today about 90% of our shrimp comes from foreign suppliers, while SC shrimp only accounts for 2% of the domestic market (Peterson, 2008). Local shrimpers in the Charleston area cannot compete with the low prices of these imported shrimp, and families who have been shrimping for generations are being forced to sell their boats and give up their livelihood.

Rick Eager, who runs the aquaculture farm Swimming Rock Fish farm explained to us how important it is to invest in American aquaculture. According to Rick, of the 90% of fish that is imported, only about 1% is inspected. Fish grown in the U.S. are ‘wholesome and better quality’ because of the stricter regulations and standards that the United States government holds its fisherman to.”

Class Field trip to Swimming Rock Fish farm
Class Field trip to Swimming Rock Fish farm

under: Events, Student, Uncategorized

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