Florida fine restaurants can hardly wait the opening of stone crab season each year- stone crabs soar to the highest priced entree on the menu from October till May. Year 'round, ill-fated lobsters piled on top of each other in tanks fetch a high price, as do jumbo shrimp.

There are those who will risk going to jail for poaching lobster out of season in the Florida Keys.

Lobsters, crabs and shrimp are crustaceans, members of the kingdom of arthropods, with only a minor distinction between themselves and insects. Not that insects, too, are not savored by the wealthy who serve cocktails with chocolate covered ant, grasshopper, and beetle snacks.

When I was younger and didn't know about crustaceans, my opinion was they were a lot of work to eat. They require cracking tools, pickers, special forks, and bibs for breaking through the skeleton of the creature, to begin the excavation of a shredded morsel of something dip in butter.

While vegans who eat "nothing with a face" have nothing to worry about, the question of crustaceans in the diet is based on consideration of marine pollution and what the flesh of these higher organisms, bio-magnified, contains.

Shrimp live in the upper layers of the sea while crabs and lobsters crawl on the bottom. Shrimp feed on plankton which ingest or become coated with surface pollutants like gasoline, oil, oil dispersants, fallout pollution from jets, jet ski residue, or particles stuck together in unidentified man-made fragmented molecules called the "humic fraction."

(There is as well the ocean's "humor faction" which includes Miami Dolphins, Floundering, and Blowfish).

Some plankton are naturally toxic. If you've ever eaten out and later felt like you "got a bad shrimp" that's the reason.

Crabs and lobsters feed on every bit of junk that makes its way to the bottom of the sea. That would include what military, cruise ships and pleasure craft dump, and any heavy particulate matter which is cast into the ocean that doesn't float.

I have as much appetite for lobsters and scorpions, as I do for crabs and spiders.

However, the restaurants of the future may make this distinction a reality. Crustaceans for the Rich, Insects for the Poor. Though insects are more numerous and available, we'll still have to work harder to get our food, unless insects become larger.


Can We Afford to Eat Crustaceans?


washnwmn's picture
washnwmn 6 years 44 weeks ago

With radiation from Japan drifting our way. Here, in Washington state, I think twice before eating any seafood. Though some years back there was some interest in developing farming of the Pudget Sound King crab, an unusual species that looks like a rock, until it moves. Worse than crabs are shellfish IMO, everything washes through them....I definitely stay away from clams, muscles, oysters and scallops. There are lots of clean lakes around with wonderful trout, perch and bass, and even some crawdads in some streams for crustation lovers.

On another topic, about the guy with the diabetes cure...I would bet the reason he's taking it to China, has nothing to do with religion, and probably has more to do with his cure not being approved for sale by the FDA..and would be illegal here. Just a thought.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 6 years 44 weeks ago

I must be missing something if people are eating ant, beetle and grasshopper snacks nowadays. I have never seen anybody eat an insect -- cats yes, but people no.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 6 years 43 weeks ago

N-L- You haven't been invited to the right parties! Don't forget, they're chocolate-covered insects.

I guess you never saw the episodes of Extreme Fear where people would eat plates of worms and roaches to win a million dollars.

Boy, have you been missing out.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 6 years 43 weeks ago

Nope, I am just a well-educated pee-on, you know. Oh, I never watch those reality show horror movies or whatever they are. They seem very contrived to me. I really have been missing out. I didn't realize they were so entertaining.

There seems to be a lot of veganality going on this site. I wonder what you think of a pescetarian diet.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 6 years 43 weeks ago

As long as it's not on a French menu, when it becomes Poisson, the health advantages of fish in the human diet are well documented. Though, washnwmn is quite correct about the dangers of filter-feeders like clams, scallops, and Oysters Rockefeller.

Still, because of marine pollution, I think farm-raised fish and shrimp are the best option, despite the squawking about feeds and colorants. I have seen some pretty classy aquaculture operations where the animals live a good full life in clean waters, running streams, and there is no arsenic in feed. Aquaculture done well is a self-contained ecosystem that requires no feeds or additives.

Considering vegans will eat mushrooms grown in pooh, I feel aquaculture evens out the score on who is the grosser consumer.

The other point is protein requirement. I can't make it without 100% Biovalue eggs, Russian cottage cheese, hot cocoa, and salmon salad as my staple diet. I am a soybean-atheist, so I feel I don't have a choice- my hair will start falling out and my skin and muscles start wasting.

I hope no one suggests I eat nuts- with full orthodontia.

When it comes to vegan, I'm a spinach and mashed potatoes girl, and heap on the 100% organic sweet butter. I'll take a side of farm raised tilapia nuggets, but forget about the catfish.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 6 years 43 weeks ago

That makes you pretty much a pescetarian, too. That's basically what I would be if I had my choice. (My wife makes a lot of those choices for me, but we eat a lot of fruit, veggies, cereals, and seafood, not very much land-animal meat).

Washnwmn is correct too, that there are a lot of very clean lakes and streams. It depends, and there is testing of the fish and the water, actually. Mountain waters are generally very clean. My wife and I saw some people testing a hike-in lake here in California a few years ago, and they were marvelling at how clean it was, but we were catching tasty Brook Trout there, so the fish (small ones) can thrive in very clean water. We also visited Washington State last summer, and caught fish there, some of which we ate.

I do eat crustaceans and clams, etc. too sometimes. To my knowledge, the main problem with the mollusks is bacteria. I haven't heard of heavy levels of pollution in crustaceans, but it is possible in polluted areas.

Maybe you should borrow my taste for tofu. I do like it, which is fortunate since my wife is Chinese (Taiwanese), so that tofu is a normal part of their diet. You can also eat soybeans, soy milk, sweet soft tofu deserts, etc.

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