Noordzeegarnaal, Grijze Garnaal
The North Sea shrimp belongs to the family of Crangonidae, or sand shrimps. This family of rather small, relatively dark shrimps occurs in cold and moderate regions, mainly in the northern hemisphere. All across the globe there are about 1, 950 different shrimp families, 300 of which are used for consumption.
The North Sea shrimp is intensively caught in Northwest Europe. With an annual supply of 25 up to 35, 000 tonnes, the North Sea shrimp is one of the ten most commercially important shrimp species. The average length of the North Sea shrimp is 5 to 7 centimetres; it has a transparent body and a dun colour. The shrimp can reach an age of three years.
The North Sea shrimp not only differs in colour and size from the other species offered in the fish shops. The taste of the 'pink' shrimps imported from abroad is less pronounced. The small size of the North Sea shrimp makes peeling difficult. The intensive peeling process naturally influences the price.
The North Sea shrimp is mainly found on sand and sand mud bottoms in shallow coastal waters: in the summer close to the coast, where the sun has warmed up the water; in the winter months further in the sea, in areas that have not yet cooled off. During the day the shrimp buries itself in the sand, so that only the eyes and antennae stick out. At night it takes on a darker colour and sets off in search of food (algae, snails and all kinds of vegetable food). Shrimps are caught during the entire year, with clear peaks in April/May and in the autumn months.