WILDLIFE

Brine shrimp officially named Utah’s state crustacean

Mar 20, 2023, 12:57 PM

Brine Shrimp...

(Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

(Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Cox signed legislation naming the brine shrimp as Utah’s state crustacean.

Specifically, the small crustaceans known as brine shrimp inhabit the salty waters of the Great Salt Lake.

Brine Shrimp eggs or ‘cysts’ are harvested by private companies and used as food for fish and commercially grown shrimp. The harvesting of the cysts are a vital multi-million dollar industry in Utah. The Great Salt Lake itself provides 40% of the worldwide demand for these crustaceans.

The crustaceans are also are critical to the ecosystem of the Great Salt Lake. Whether it be for their algae eating prowess or as food for migratory birds.

Further, Utahn’s have been advocating for the crustaceans state-wide recognition. One 6th grade class even made a petition.

“The importance of the brine shrimp in the Great Salt Lake ecosystem can’t be overstated,” DWR Great Salt Lake Ecosystem Program Manager John Luft said in a press release. “We are thrilled about the designation of the brine shrimp as the state crustacean and the attention they are getting for their role at the Great Salt Lake.”

The shrimp isn’t the only wildlife to recently be recognized as a new state symbol. The golden eagle was named the state bird of prey last year, and in 2019, the Gila monster was designated the official state reptile.

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Brine shrimp officially named Utah’s state crustacean