The hidden cost of cheap shrimp

Shrimp is North America’s favourite seafood, and today it comes cheap.

In just a few decades, these tiny crustaceans went from being a rare delicacy to an abundant seafood staple.

But shrimp’s plunge in price — and subsequent spike in popularity — has come at a high cost to forests, marine ecosystems and labourers in the developing world. Farmed in intensive man-made ponds, prawns from countries like Thailand, China, and Vietnam, are produced at a fraction of the cost it takes to fish fresh from Canadian waters.

Our graduate journalism class at the University of British Columbia traveled to Thailand — the world’s largest exporter of shrimp — to investigate the hidden consequences of cheap shrimp.