Clean Gulf Shrimp Return To The Menu

To be sure, the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has caused consumers to think twice about the source of their seafood. While government and British Petroleum sources assure consumers that the marine life is safe to eat, many shrimpers and fisherman will tell you about their uncertain future. But, in spite of this coastal tragedy, there is one shrimper who can still muster a smile.

To call David Teichert-Coddington a shrimper might be slightly inaccurate. He is more of a farmer than a seaman. That would be because the shrimp David harvests are grown 150 miles away from the Gulf Coast.

David, along with his partners, H. R. (Rud) Schmittou and Thomas Schmittou, runs Greene Prairie Aquafarm in Boligee, Alabama. Located about 45 miles southwest of Tuscaloosa, Boligee is the site of a naturally-salinated aquifer. Brackish water is pumped up from underground to fill 17 ponds, creating about 54 surface acres of shrimp-growing space. This brackish water has been used for decades to produce channel catfish. But it was not until 2001, that Greene Prairie Aquafarm was established and became the only Alabama farm dedicated to the production of saltwater shrimp.

I recently spoke with Mr. Teichert-Coddington to get a better perspective on this unique endeavor. We talked about what it means to grow saltwater shrimp in a landlocked area. First and foremost, I wanted to know what you’d call his shrimp. A herd? A passel? A crop? Yes, a crop sounded right and he said these shrimp even have a growing season, around the first of May to the end of October. He has only recently added a greenhouse to the farm which—just like with plants and vegetables—serves to extend the growing season of the shrimp. He can start the babies earlier and hopefully raise larger shrimp. Most of the shrimp Greene Prairie grows are in the 26-30 count range. But, he hopes that the added time in the greenhouse will get more of his shrimp into the prized 21-25 count range. There’s a premium for shrimp that size.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: Birmingham Weekly.