Very expensive Dutch shrimp follows caviar: 9 euros for a sandwich, already normal

He is only 3 to 5 centimeters tall, but is now causing a lot of stress. The Dutch shrimp, a crown jewel from our waters, is on the rise. In terms of price, that is, and that has consequences for fans of the croquette, the sandwich and the salad made from it.

The Dutch shrimp is a real Dutch specialty, which in terms of popularity can compete with, for example, the Zeeland mussels and the ‘Dutch Nieuwe’. The small gray-brown crustacean, also called the gray shrimp or ‘crangon crangon’, is more popular than its brother, the Norwegian shrimp, which has a somewhat firmer size and is white-pink in color.

“A real delicacy,” says Joris Bijdendijk, the famous chef about the Dutch shrimp. “It’s a great treat when you eat this sweet animal. Not comparable to that slightly larger Norwegian shrimp. It’s tasty too, but it doesn’t swim here.”

‘Nothing comparable to the taste of gray shrimp’

The chef, whose dishes are characterized by the use of Dutch products, emphasizes that the Dutch shrimp is an important national delicacy. “The taste and texture of the gray shrimp are incomparable. You can eat it with skin and hair without any problems. In order to optimally preserve the taste, they are often cooked on board after being caught or immediately frozen raw. Delicious.”

But also, always, more expensive. This was traditionally because this shrimp, which is fished in the North Sea and the Wadden Sea, is peeled in Morocco. If the removal of the peel were to happen in our country, the price would be even higher.

‘Caviar from the North Sea’

Now the price is going up sharply. There have already been reports that ‘caviar from the North Sea’, the peeled ones, are now selling for over 80 or even 100 euros per kilo in fish shops, causing consumers to increasingly miss the net. Anyone who is lucky and can order a Dutch shrimp sandwich from the fishmonger will have to pay 9 euros at several locations.

The gray shrimp has become scarce for several reasons. For example, warming of the seas is mentioned, causing the decapod shrimp – which searches for food at night and just hangs around during the day – to seek refuge elsewhere.

Strict regulations for shrimp fishermen

Strict regulations also play a role, and there are many fish swimming in our seas that also see the gray shrimp as a delicacy, such as whiting. “Man’s competitors indeed,” says Guus Pastoor of the Fish Federation, the trade association of the fish processing industry.

At the same time, he emphasizes that there is no clear main reason why the popular shrimp is less visible in our waters. “The main thing is that little has been caught. That is not strange at this time, the season runs from summer to the end of the year, but little was caught last year. This means that there has been little stock build-up.”

According to Pastoor, that stock is currently ‘historically low’. “So there will be a shortage, and then the price mechanism will work. How many shrimp there are, unlike fish, is also difficult to measure. We have to wait.” He remains optimistic. “By the summer there may be more shrimp again, and with a normal supply the price will drop again.”