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Without a doubt, shrimp is America’s favorite food that is harvested from the sea. Whether talking about salmon or lobster, tuna or clams, shrimp is the shellfish that tops them all!

In fact, shrimp is so popular that, on average, each person living in the US eats more than 4 pounds of shrimp each year. This means that the country consumes around 1.4 billion pounds of shrimp annually. Throughout the world, at least 9 billion pounds of shrimp are consumed each year.

Certainly this makes National Shrimp Day just the right time to celebrate this most popular of delicious seafoods. Fans of this delightful ‘fruit of the sea’ can take time to learn about and pay attention to something so simple and yet so amazing: shrimp!

Looking for other options to honor and show appreciation for shrimp on other days throughout the year? Try out National French Fried Shrimp Day in December or Shrimp Scampi Day in April. 

History of National Shrimp Day

Shrimp has been making its way to the dinner plates of fishermen, their families, and their local communities for thousands of years! Since ancient times when Greeks and Romans would enjoy this shellfish immensely, to modern times when shrimp is caught and shipped all over the world, this little crustacean has made a huge statement, especially for those cultures that are situated on the sea.

Today, the highest consumer of shrimp per capita is Japan, with the United States coming in second. With more than 2000 different species that exist throughout the globe, shrimp can range from small to large and also range in color. The most common species of shrimp, however, are Rock Shrimp, Pink Shrimp, Tiger Shrimp and White Shrimp.

It’s unclear at exactly what point shrimp made its way to tables in the American territories. Some historians say that the French explorers in the Louisiana marshes came across the practice of shrimping in the 1700s. By the mid-1700s, the city of Mobile, Alabama had established itself as a premier location for seafood, including shrimp while Mississippi became important in the seafood industry in the late 1800s. The southern cooking tradition of the shrimp boil likely developed around this time as well.

Further west, in the late 19th century, it seems that some Italian settlers in California started to fish for shrimp in the San Francisco Bay. Other states with access to the sea had their own timelines for developing ways of catching and cooking shrimp. And as better methods for harvesting and shipping shrimp became possible, the dish became popular all over the country in the early 1900s.

Today, shrimp has become an incredibly popular and beloved seafood that people all over the world can appreciate and enjoy – and that’s the reason National Shrimp Day is here!

National Shrimp Day Timeline


Marco Polo writes about shrimp

On his exploration to the Far East, Marco Polo notes the prevalence of seafood in the markets and people’s diets.

14th century

Shrimp scampi is invented

This beloved buttery shrimp dish is developed in the city of Genoa, Italy.


The Shrimp Girl is painted

This famous painting by William Hogarth depicts a girl carrying shrimp and mussels to market on her head in London. [1]

Early 20th century

Shrimp cocktail gets its start

Following in the footsteps of its cousin, oyster cocktail, shrimp cocktail becomes extremely popular in the mid-20th century.[2]


Bubba Gump Shrimp Company opens

Named after the character in Forrest Gump, this shrimp restaurant starts in California. [3]

How to Celebrate National Shrimp Day

Fried or boiled, scampi or cocktail, grab up a dish full of this delightful little shellfish in honor of National Shrimp Day. Get started celebrating with some of these ideas:

Head Out to a Seafood Restaurant for Shrimp

The perfect way to honor National Shrimp Day would, of course, be to enjoy eating some that has been deliciously prepared in a gourmet kitchen. Those who live by the coast probably have more options than those who are inland, but just about anyone can probably find access to some yummy shrimp dishes and seafood platters in celebration of the day.

Don’t forget to mention to the restaurant staff that this is National Shrimp Day! They might have some special offers or discounts on various shrimp meals. Choose from one of these favorite ways that shrimp is prepared:

  • Shrimp Scampi. Offering a buttery garlic sauce, this simple but delicious dish uses olive oil and lemon juice to bring out the flavor of the shrimp.
  • Shrimp Cocktail. A popular appetizer or served during the cocktail hour (thus, the name), these pre-cooked shrimp are served cold with a special red cocktail sauce.
  • Shrimp Monterey. This type of shrimp is made with Monterey Jack cheese and served over a bed of angel hair pasta.
  • Shrimp Chowder. A slight change on the traditional clam chowder, a cup of this deliciously thick soup is perfect as an appetizer or fill up a bowl for a hearty meal.

Learn Some Fun Facts About Shrimp

Show some respect to this little shellfish that makes a big impact by learning some interesting bits of trivia. And increase awareness and excitement for the day by sharing some of these facts with friends, coworkers and family members in honor of National Shrimp Day: 

  • Shrimp are amazing at “swimming” through the water, though they are typically moving backwards.

  • Shrimp are very unique in that every single shrimp is born as a male and then becomes a female over their lifetime.

  • There are more than 2000 different species of shrimp that can be found in bodies of water all over the globe.

  • While Americans use the word “shrimp” and British folks will use the word “prawns” interchangeably, these are actually two different species of crustacean, mostly to do with the fact that shrimp are smaller and prawns dwell in freshwater not seawater.

Learn About Shrimp Allergies

While the celebration of National Shrimp Day usually means eating shrimp, it also might be an important time to learn about those folks who have an allergy to shrimp. Of all of the seafood allergies, shrimp is the most common in both children and adults.

When a person who is allergic to shrimp is exposed to this allergen, the reactions can range from mild to severe, or even life threatening. A stuffy nose, hives, swelling and difficulty breathing can be some of the symptoms. Friends and family members of people with a shrimp allergy, may find it important to be aware of an emergency treatment plan. For many people, the right course of action for whole body anaphylaxis is a dose from an epinephrine pen.

National Shrimp Day FAQs

Is shrimp good for you?

Shrimp is a food that works well as part of a healthy diet, as it is low in calories but rich in nutrients. [1]

How long to cook shrimp?

Shrimp is a quick cooking food, only needing to be boiled for just 1-3 minutes. [2]

How do you make shrimp scampi?

Sauté garlic in butter and oil, add shrimp to sauté. Add broth and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Easy!

Can pregnant women eat shrimp?

Sure. Most doctors will agree that its safe for a pregnant woman to eat safely caught and cooked seafood. [3]

Is shrimp high in mercury?

According to studies, most shrimp has relatively low levels of mercury, but it can change based on brands. [4]

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