Ever eat lobster shrimp

Whether as a soup, "calamari fritti" or a cocktail - lobster, squid and shrimp are considered a special delicacy in many circles. But in reality these marine animals are amazing creatures whose extraordinary abilities are unfortunately still far too little known.


In kitchen language, crustaceans are crustaceans used as food, around which there is some confusion of terms. Prawns are often referred to as prawns - derived from French. They are called Gambas for Spaniards, Gamberi for Italians. The usual trade name for small shrimp is shrimp and for larger king prawns. King prawns are also often featured on menu cards as lobster crabs, although this is a misnomer for the animals. But that's not enough of the confusion: North Sea prawns are often also referred to as crabs, which is wrong according to the biological system. Scampi (Norway lobster) are not shrimp, they have claws. 1


Fun facts about shrimp (prawns)

  • Shrimp come in a dazzling variety of shapes, sizes and colors. They comprise 2,000 species and are found in deep oceans, shallow tidal waters, and fresh water in every region on every continent except Antarctica.
  • They are tiny, fascinating creatures that live at the bottom of the oceans and play an important role in maintaining the ecological balance of the sea.
  • Shrimp are primarily swimmers, not reptiles.
  • Their size varies considerably depending on the species.
  • While small shrimp are typically around 1-2cm long (from head to tail), some species can grow to be 30cm or longer. The tiger prawn, an invasive species in gulf, can grow to about the length of an adult's forearm.
  • Shrimp are excellent swimmers. They can propel themselves backwards quickly by flexing the muscles of their abdomen and tail, or swim more slowly forward by using the appendages on the underside of their tail.
  • Some shrimp can snap loudly with the tongs. It can get quite noisy under the water when snapping shrimp are there. Certain species of shrimp are able to create a snapping sound that is louder than any other sea sound by clapping their large and small pincers. It is believed that they do this to communicate with other shrimp or to temporarily stun their prey.
  • Shrimp are omnivores. They usually consume microscopic plant and animal substances by filtering the surrounding water or sifting through the ocean floor. Certain types of shrimp also catch and eat small fish.
  • Shrimp are an important part of their ecosystem. They are an important source of food for many crabs, fish, sea urchins, whales, dolphins and sea birds. Some species of shrimp also have a symbiotic relationship with fish, clearing their host of parasites, bacteria, and fungi.
  • Shrimp contain selenium, an antioxidant mineral that's believed to activate enzymes to fight cancer-causing free radicals from growing. However, selenium is also found in asparagus, nuts or lentils - it is not necessary to kill and eat animals from the ocean for this
  • Due to their complex nervous system, the shrimp can feel pain and suffering.

Prawns: Sea Life becomes Sea Food

In 2017 the "production" of these small crustaceans was more than 2.9-3.5 million tons (!). Almost 75 to 80% of production comes from the Asia-Pacific region.3 Since the ocean alone has long been unable to produce this amount, the shrimp are also bred on so-called aqua farms. The problems are the same as with fish farming: even more fish are fed in the form of fish oil or meal as food for the crustaceans, mangrove forests4, 5, which offer good protection against tsunamis, are destroyed to make room for aquacultures create, drugs are administered to prevent animals from dying prematurely.
However, most of the small crustaceans are still caught from the sea. When fishing for shrimp, the seabed is grazed with close-meshed nets. All life on the ocean floor is destroyed, because not only shrimp get caught in the fine mesh, but also many other marine animals such as starfish, mussels, whales, seabirds and sharks. We provide more information about fishing methods in water at swissveg.ch/fische.


Lobsters are a marine genus of the decipod crabs from the family of the lobster-like (Nephropidae). Today there are two types of American lobster and European lobster.

Fun facts about lobsters

  • Lobsters can live up to 100 years.
  • Lobsters molt because they will grow for a lifetime! They have to shed their shell and form a new one in order to grow.
  • A female lobster can only mate shortly after moulting. Once it's peeled off its shell, it sends out a pheromone * to let the males know it's ready. (Pheroma is a fragrance produced and secreted by animals and humans that affects the metabolism and behavior of other individuals of the same species)
  • Post-moulting lobsters are voracious foodies, often consuming their own recently emptied shells. Eating the old shell replenishes lost calcium and accelerates the hardening of the new shell.
  • Lobsters taste with their legs through chemosensory * hairs that identify the food. (* receptors responsible for the perception of odor)
  • It is said that lobsters are cannibals, but this rarely occurs in nature. They nibble at each other in captivity in aquariums with dense populations. 6
  • Lobsters can regenerate their claws, legs and antennae. 7
  • Lobsters are only red in color when cooked. In nature, the color of lobsters varies greatly from a strong blue to dark purple tones and is dependent on the food and the color of the rock in their habitat. Yellow coloring and albinism are very rare.
  • The largest European lobster ever caught was 1.26 meters long and 9.3 kilograms, the scissors alone weighed 1.2 kilograms.8 With a record weight of 20.1 kilograms, an American lobster was even more than twice as much difficult. 9
  • The lobsters' teeth are not in their mouths. Instead, they are in your stomach! The food is digested in their "stomach mill" by something that looks like three molars.

Sensation of pain

Contrary to the claims made by the sellers, there is now little doubt that lobsters - like almost all animals - can feel pain.
Most scientists agree that a lobster's nervous system is pretty well developed. A study by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) from December 2005 found that lobsters (as well as crabs and lobsters) have higher cognitive abilities, have a complex behavioral repertoire, a consciousness, a memory and complex brain structures and can feel pain. Crustaceans are classified as Category 1 by EFSA (they can clearly feel pain and stress and deserve protection) .10
All the more cruel that these sensitive beings experience no consideration whatsoever on their path of suffering. They are usually cooked alive. Traps that are not controlled lead to death from starvation. During transport and storage, they suffer from dehydration, bacterial diseases and peel diseases due to the extreme confinement. The rough handling of the lobsters causes open wounds and injuries. They cannot breathe properly outside of the water, and conflicts with other lobsters occur in the pool. They also suffer from sudden changes in temperature, poor water quality, and physical injuries.
Lobsters squirm violently when tossed into boiling water and scratch the walls of the pot in a desperate attempt to escape, but they can take several minutes to die.

Switzerland, states in Australia, Scotland, England and Norway are now rejecting the live cooking of lobsters. Austria put lobsters on an equal footing with vertebrates by law in January 2005.


The molluscs are a species and variety of forms that live mainly, but not exclusively, in the sea and in fresh water. The groups of snails, mussels and cephalopods (e.g. octopus) belong to them. 11


The most well-known types of mussels are oysters, scallops or pilgrim mussels (Petoncle), sea snails (Bulot), sea almonds (Amandes), sea clams, mussels, green-lipped clams, clams. 12

Fun facts about mussels

  • Mussels can live up to 50 years! 13
  • There are around 10,000 different types of clams. Twice as many species are already extinct. There are only fossils left of them. 14
  • Mussels feed through a small opening through which they suck in water and filter plankton. Correspondingly, they also absorb toxins through the water, which are deposited in their bodies.
  • Mussels have a foot that - like their head - has receded in the course of evolution. You can see what a foot looks like here:
  • Mussels have one sex: there are male and female mussels that reproduce together, but do not have to come into direct contact. 14

Sensation of pain

It is not yet scientifically clear whether mussels can feel pain. But it is entirely possible that they are sentient. Since the question of the fundamentals of consciousness has not yet been clarified beyond doubt, this possibility cannot yet be ruled out.
In contrast to insects, mussels do not have a brain, but only have a few central nerve nodes. They can do some movements, for example they can open and close their bowls. They also have mechanisms that are comparable to opiate receptors found in other animals. The function of these receptors is to relieve pain in other animals. A plausible explanation for the occurrence of similar mechanisms in mussels would therefore be that they are also capable of suffering. 1516

Mother of pearl and pearls

The shiny inner layer of many seashells is called mother-of-pearl or mother-of-pearl. The name actually comes from the fact that this shine is the mother of pearls!
Shells form pearls as a defense mechanism against foreign objects that penetrate them. The jacket fabric secretes mother-of-pearl around the foreign body until a pearl forms. The shell actually does nothing other than wall up intruders who have injured its interior.17 It is now considered certain that a grain of sand that has penetrated does not turn into a pearl. Otherwise, the mussel would be constantly threatened by vast amounts of sand in its natural habitat - and there would probably be many more pearls to be found in the wild. Correspondingly, foreign bodies are deliberately introduced into the mussel in pearl cultivation. Pearls are created in both salt and fresh water. 18


Millions of tons of squid are still caught every year. They end up on the plate as calamari fritti or eke out a sad existence in test laboratories. Even if the strange animal species only exudes the charm of a jellyfish for many, researchers agree that googly animals have a lot of brains.19 So far, squid can be dissected on a living body in many countries without the laboratory's approval would have to apply.

Fun facts about squid

  • Above all, the octopus brain regions responsible for memory and learning are completely comparable to those of vertebrates: octopuses are capable of complex thinking, have short and long-term memories, use tools, learn through observation, show different personalities and have a pronounced pain perception - Characteristics that were previously only attributed to vertebrates.
  • As babies, the tiny animals float on the surface of the water as plankton for weeks, separated from their parents, until they finally sink to the sea floor. Each young animal is therefore confronted with a different habitat that requires special hunting methods.
  • He uses his skin pattern not only for camouflage, but also as a means of communication - he uses it to express his interests and moods.
  • Some species are like floating slide shows, sometimes disguised as a small coral reef, sometimes as a drifting coconut.
  • Male squids sometimes even camouflage themselves as females in order to copulate undisturbed behind the back of a larger rival with his playmate. They hide their typically male tentacles, give their skin a feminine speckled pattern and assume a kind of egg-laying position.
  • When caring for their homes, squids show almost human features. They keep their dwelling meticulously tidy and change it tirelessly: tear off hanging strands of algae, clear the interior several times, remove rubbish and build small walls around the entrance. Among other things, they use dead coral fragments as tools.
  • Not infrequently they were caught escaping their aquariums at night, slipping into neighboring fish tanks and gobbling down the residents in a rampant feeding orgy. They didn't even stop at sharks. After a long feast they, innocence itself, crawled back into their pelvis. They almost got away with it if they hadn't left traces of damp slime on the walls and floors as evidence of their nightly excursion.
  • The clever cephalopods were also observed in the wild as they climbed aboard fishing boats, opened the loading flap and tampered with the delicious cargo.
  • Squids usually don't get older than 2 years: evolution has equipped them with a huge brain, but gives them little time to use it and hardly any opportunities to develop.

Cuttlefish, squid or octopus? Where's the difference?

Squid is the umbrella term for underwater animals with many arms. In technical terms, squids are also known as coleloids. In some general and popular science texts they are called squid to show that they belong to the molluscs. Squids are not fish because they are not vertebrates.20 Squids as food are often referred to as squids, calamari, or calamaio by international trade, regardless of the biological taxonomy.

Live close to the ground and feed on fish and crabs. When they're scared, under stress, or trying to impress a partner, they change color. They get their propulsion from a fin edge that runs once around their body. They have ten tentacles around their mouths.

In contrast to the cuttlefish, the squids live in free water. The squids move through a funnel from which they press water out of the mantle cavity. In this way they can reach very high speeds. Some species manage to fly a short distance close to the water surface with this drive technology and thus even save energy on long distances.21 Flight distances of up to 50 meters and an altitude of up to six meters above the water surface are occupied. The muscles on the sipho allow you to change the direction of the water jet and thus maneuver very quickly. The smaller species in particular swim in large schools.

The term octopus was adopted from Danish-Norwegian into German and could stand for “uprooted tree”, as the animals' arms protrude in all directions like roots. In contrast to other cephalopods - such as squids and dwarf squids - real octopuses have eight instead of ten arms.

Fun facts about octopuses:

  • Octopuses usually have a favorite arm that they use more often than the others.
  • Octopuses and octopods actually have three hearts: a main heart for the brain and body, and two gill hearts for breathing.
  • Octopuses are known to have multiple hearts. When it comes to the number of brains, however, scientists disagree. One thing is certain: there is a nerve knot, also known as a ganglion, in each arm of the octopus. 22

Cuttlefish for food

In Greece, squid is often hung up to dry in the sun, not infrequently on clotheslines with clothespins. The animals are not always dead at the time. The following picture shows a holiday picture of Moritz Bleibtreu, a German actor:

It is tragic that public figures play down such acts of cruelty to animals.

Fruits or animals?

Her followers affectionately call her “seafood”. The aim is to give the impression that this is a food that the ocean naturally provides in renewable quantities. In reality, however, lobsters, squid and shrimp are just as threatened as any other marine life.