A bumper sticker on a pickup truck recently caught my eye: "Friends don't let friends eat imported shrimp."
I thought that would be pretty obvious here in the heart of shrimping country, but I have discovered that's not the case. Recently, we went to a Hilton Head Island chain restaurant, and I asked the waiter whether their shrimp dishes were made with the local crustaceans. He quickly said they used the imported variety and said the only establishments that bought local were the mom-and-pop restaurants. A large chain couldn't possibly buy local. I ordered veal.
Apparently, this practice isn't just restricted to restaurants, as a local supermarket recently offered local uncooked shrimp in their shells for the same price as cooked and shelled. When asked why, it was explained that the ready-to-eat variety was imported.
I have now begun to ask whether a restaurant's shrimp are local or imported ,and I'm making a list of where and where not to eat. All businesses should share this information with customers. If the large chains choose to boycott our local shrimping industry, then I shall boycott the restaurants and hope that others do the same. The fishermen were here long before the restaurants and chain stores after all. They deserve to remain and prosper. Now all I need is a bumper sticker.
Hilton Head Island