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Alaska Shrimp

In the North Pacific waters of Alaska there are five types of shrimp; Northern Pink, Humpy, Coonstripe, Sidestripe, and Spot shrimp.

Alaska's commercial shrimp fisheries consist of two type of harvesting methods, trawling and pots. Northern Pink, Humpy, and Sidestripes are caught using trawlers, while Coonstripe and Spot shrimp are caught using shrimp pots.

Northern Pink and Humpy shrimp are usually marketed as cocktail or salad shrimp. Sidestripe shrimp are known for their sweet flavor and Spot shrimp are the largest shrimp in the Alaska's waters.

Northern Pink shrimp are small slender and light to reddish pink. Humpy shrimp are similar but have a "hump" along their back and a series of reddish dots down their body. Coonstirpes are robust with large heads and have dark bands on their legs and body. Sidestripes are slender and light pink with white bands down their body. Sidestripes are also known for their long antennules. Spot shrimp are large and range from light brown to orange in color. They have paired spots on their back just behind their head and just before their tails.

Alaska's shrimp, the Palandid family, is an odd bunch, being one of the few animals on the earth that change sex during their lifetime. They spend their early lives as males then transform into females for the remaining part of their lives. Females can carry from a few hundred eggs up to 4000 eggs. They spawn in the spring and fall.

Shrimp are sized and sold by count (number of shrimp per pound) either whole or headless. For example, headless shrimp of 16-20 count means there are 16 to 20 headless shrimp per pound. Counts for headless shrimp range from under 10 (the largest shrimp) to 300-500 (the smallest).

Shrimp are an excellent source of high-quality protein and are low in fat. Shrimp are easily prepared by the following methods: boiled, broiled, baked, grilled or fried. Store fresh shrimp in the refrigerator at 32-38 degrees F and use within two days or store in freezer at 0 degrees F and use within six months. Thaw shrimp in the refrigerator or under cold running water.

Be sure to visit our Shrimp Fishing Gallery for some interesting pictures of shrimp fishing in Alaska. We also have a large listing of shrimp recipes for your cooking needs.

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