Fritz Jaenike is a man with a mission. When he speaks there is an urgency in his voice that compels listeners to try to grasp his vision.
"Other nations are dominating food production, particularly seafood production. If our nation does not keep our shrimp and fish farms, we will be in trouble some day." he says.
Fritz knows what he is talking about. He is the general manager of the first, and one the largest shrimp farming operation in Texas. He knows the industry from top to bottom and he loves what he does.
"Our world is facing increased food prices with the next increase of energy prices. Do we want to buy our food from foreign producers who don't adhere to our standards, or do we want to take a chance on not being able to produce seafood in the USA?" he says.
The USA imports 80% of the seafood we consume. Do we really want to be dependant on nations that do not follow our standards, for our food supply? We, as a nation need to produce more of our food needs.
Thus this 800 acre tract of land on the coast of Texas, within sight of expensive resorts on Padre Island and exclusive golf course resort properties on the Texas coast, is utilized for shrimp and fish production. It is refreshing to see a person with a unique vision, of the essentials of life. For Jaenike believes that as the world changes and international power shifts that the United States may face a shortage of food production, making us as dependent on foreign nations for food as we are dependent on foreign producers for oil. Fritz Jaenike is a leader and a visionary, because he keeps working to keep domestic fish farming alive in Texas.
Shrimp farming worldwide is a relatively new industry, which did not begin to significantly develop until the 1970’s. In those early years the contribution of farmed shrimp to total world consumption was less than 5%, with the vast bulk of shrimp being sourced from the wild fisheries.
In the 1980’s and 90’s shrimp farming grew rapidly and today over 70% of the shrimp consumed in the U.S. is from aquaculture production. Shrimp farms in the U.S. currently produce less than 2% of the shrimp consumed domestically and due largely to year around growing seasons and lower production costs abroad, it does not appear that the trend will be reversed in the near future.
The Need for Domestic Aquaculture Production
It seems medical health experts are finding more benefits from the consumption of seafood everyday and as the information is disseminated, world consumption of seafood in general is increasing. As many of the worldwide fisheries have reached maximum sustainable capacity, aquaculture will need to fill the void between production and consumption to avoid depletion of wild stocks.
Due in part to a less stringent regulatory environment outside of the USA, the development of the aquaculture industry abroad is proceeding at a faster rate than in the U.S. . Since U.S. seafood consumption is rapidly expanding, the percentage of imported vs. domestically produced aquaculture products are also increasing. Some sources maintain that the increasing dependence on imported seafood is a dangerous trend due to predictions that seafood exporter nations will gain control of this important market and destroy fishing and food markets of the USA. Certainly ships from nations all over the world work the coastal waters of the USA, and then sell our own products back to us.
We need to apply some of our greatest minds to the application of food production from our oceans, or "farming" of fish foods near our great oceans and gulfs, to create jobs, stabilize our domestic food supply and maintain the quality of foods that Americans prefer and enjoy.
"Well designed, managed and located food facilities can have premium appraisal values and be good business investments" said an experienced appraisal company.
Do you like lobster, shrimp, hallibut, tilapia and crabmeat? Wouldn't you feel safer if it was fished, farmed, and produced in America by Americans?