GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Do you know where your shrimp come from?
If not, you can now. The Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association unveiled its Gulf Seafood Trace Program.
Supported by BP grant funds, this program's aim is to get all local restaurants on board to buy traceable shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico and then tell you, the consumer, exactly where it came from.
"We have the best seafood in the world right here off the Gulf Coast," said Kevin Fish, Manager of Half Shell Oyster House in Downtown Gulfport.
That's why he is proud to prepare local seafood, and his guests are eating it up.
One of his guests is Nicole Harris. She's glad to hear the shrimp she just ate was caught not far from where she's sitting.
"I feel better that it's local. I don't eat seafood that's not local, so definitely," Harris said.
His restaurant was one of the first of the now 45 local restaurants taking part in the Gulf Seafood Trace Program that follows Gulf shrimp from the water to your plate.
"The exact latitude and longitude where that shrimp was caught, what dock it was processed at, what fish wholesaler it went to after that and then all the way to the restaurant," said Fish.
According to Fish, a simple barcode puts all of that information at your fingertips.
"You have a little QR code. You can snap with your phone and take you to the web site and give you all that information," said Fish.
A Half Shell regular and local businessman, Mark Cumbest not only tastes the difference, but understands the significance.
"It is so important to support our local seafood industry here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and it's a win, win for the consumer and the business so I'm just happy to do my part," said Cumbest.
Also in downtown Gulfport is the Red Sky Crab House, which is all about seafood. Manager Rob Heffner is thrilled to be a part of the Gulf Seafood Trace Program.
He said, "We believe in supporting our local vendors and it's a much better product as well."
To see a list of participating restaurants and caterers, visit: http://www.gulfshrimptales.com/restaurantlist.pdf