National Geographic : 1965 May
supply of shrimp is uneven; often it cannot meet the demand. The same problem plagues the whole seafood industry, depending as it does on catches of wild stocks in the ocean, subject to the vagaries of weather and other unpredictable factors. Shrimp Leads Seafoods in Cash Return At the Institute of Marine Science we have been interested in shrimp for many years. Just about the time I came to Miami, Florida's shrimp industry took a great leap forward with the discovery in December, 1949, of the Dry Tortugas shrimp beds near Key West.* Since then the industry has continued to grow. Today in Florida its value exceeds that of all other seafoods combined; over the United States, it brings more dollars to fish ermen than tuna or salmon, for years the 638 most valuable products of our seas. Our interest in shrimp as a valuable natural resource has drawn us into some fascinating bypaths: A strong curiosity, for one thing, about the enormous, brackish estuary that lies mostly in Everglades National Park, where one important shrimp population spends a long phase of its life (map, opposite). Then there was the biology of the animal itself. Just a few years ago relatively little was known about its complex life cycle and mysterious migrations. Finally, there was the shimmering pros pect of commercial farming-raising the shrimp from egg to adult-which led me some 8,000 miles to study a hard-to-believe enterprise on the shores of Japan's Inland Sea. Fishermen catch dozens of shrimp species over the world; about ten are important in 'See "Shrimpers Strike Gold in the Gulf," by Clarence P. Idyll, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, May, 1957.