The little shrimp’s journey

If you visit the North Sea coast in northern Germany you can enjoy a local specialty which is called “Krabbenbrot”. Basically it is a “Schwarzbrot” (a pretty dark kind of whole wheat bread), smeared with butter and topped with a heaping pile of small “Nordseekrabben” or brown shrimp, as they are called in English, native to the North Sea. Sometimes it is also topped with a fried egg and looks something like this:


Actually you can also enjoy the delicious shrimps in all kinds other of ways…the northern Germans sure love their shrimp:

Shrimps on toast:


Shrimp Salad:


Shrimp soup:


Mmmmmh tasty


Since those tiny shrimps live in the North Sea you might think the distance they traveled from the catch to your “Krabbenbrot” was probably pretty short…well in many cases this assumption is sadly wrong.

In order to be devoured by you, the shrimp had to travel from the place they were caught in Germany (which is where you want to eat them) through Europe, continued their odyssey by crossing the Mediterranean Sea just to end up in Northern Africa, in Morocco to be precise . Here they are peeled because it is way cheaper than it would be in Germany. Once this is completed they start to get going again and make the whole trip again, just in the opposite direction. In the end the little shrimps traveled 6000 km!! While this certainly requires a perfectly planned and executed logistics and transportation system it is also a nightmare that is unsustainable. First, the “fresh” shrimps aren’t nearly as fresh as you would expect them to be, second the pollution and fuel consumption is horrendous. Still, apparently it is more lucrative this way then to pay a little more to some people in Germany to do it. (

Luckily, this trend may be about to change so I can enjoy my “Krabbenbrot” again with a clean conscience.  (

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