The Boxing Day Tsunami: Did Our Taste for Shrimp Doom People to Drown?

Har­vest­ing food from the sea has always tak­en a seri­ous toll in human life. As Sir Wal­ter Scott once wrote: “It’s no fish ye’re buy­ing, it’s men’s lives.” The same prin­ci­ple may have applied to the Box­ing Day Tsuna­mi of 2004. The dev­as­ta­tion of the coastal man­grove forests by the com­mer­cial shrimp farm­ing indus­try stripped coastal com­mu­ni­ties of an impor­tant buffer against the pow­er of the sea.

A study pub­lished in Sci­ence in 2005 showed that where the man­grove forests still exist­ed, they did pro­vide valu­able pro­tec­tion against the Box­ing Day Tsuna­mi.

Here’s what hap­pens when there’s noth­ing stand­ing between you and the pow­er of the ocean:

One way to help pro­tect the man­groves, and the ecosys­tems and com­mu­ni­ties they sup­port, is to stop eat­ing shrimp. For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it the Man­grove Action Project ( and their Shrimp Less, Think More blog (

In case you were won­der­ing, goril­las don’t fish. If goril­las don’t need to eat seafood in order to grow big and strong, nei­ther do you. Nor do human beings need to eat seafood in order to grow a large and use­ful brain.