North Carolina Sea Grant
Coastwatch Currents

Coastwatch Currents

December 11, 2014 | Barry Nash


Posted Dec. 11, 2014

Frozen shrimp on pouches with Carteret Catch label

The peeled shrimp, which are branded as Carteret Catch product, are packaged into one-pound packets and blast frozen. Photo Vanda Lewis.

North Carolina Sea Grant and its partners help North Carolina fishermen meet the rising consumer demand for ready-to-cook, local seafood.

Starting this week, consumers in the Triangle can taste the fruits of one such demonstration project — starring wild-caught, North Carolina shrimp.

Locals Seafood — a retailer and wholesaler of seafood harvested by North Carolina fishermen — has begun offering frozen and peeled shrimp in one-pound bags. The product is listed in their seafood selection, under the Shrimp header.

Most North Carolina shrimp is sold in its shell. However, more restaurant chefs and consumers are demanding the convenience of pre-peeled shrimp. Removing the shells by hand is labor intensive and costly — and can be quite messy.

I collaborated with Locals Seafood and Mike Frinsko and Gary Bullen, both from North Carolina Cooperative Extension, to conduct a pilot project to determine if consumers would be interested in purchasing frozen and peeled local shrimp.

We worked with Eddie Willis, a Harkers Island fisherman, who provided the shrimp — and peeling machine. The peeled shrimp, branded as Carteret Catch, was vacuum packed in flexible pouches, which were blast frozen.

With each bag sold, the folks at Locals will hand out cards that will ask consumers to complete a brief quality survey. We look forward to your feedback. Maybe you can try this recipe for savory shrimp in parchment.

Not sure about frozen seafood? Be assured that, properly done, the quality of most frozen seafood matches that of fresh fish harvested right out of the ocean.

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