UTAH

Great Salt Lake brine shrimp population increases as lake reaches healthy levels

Jun 9, 2023, 2:28 PM | Updated: 7:31 pm

The brine shrimp industry is breathing a sigh of relief thanks to the rising water level of the Gre...

Utah's brine shrimp harvesters are breathing a sigh of relief from all the new water in The Great Salt Lake. (Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)

(Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)

This article is published through the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, a solutions journalism initiative that partners news, education, and media organizations to help inform people about the history and the plight of the Great Salt Lake.

SALT LAKE CITY — The brine shrimp industry is breathing a sigh of relief thanks to the rising water level of the Great Salt Lake. And so is the shrimp industry in general, and those who eat shrimp.

In fact, Tim Hawkes, the Vice President of the Great Salt Lake Brine Shrimp Cooperative said if you eat shrimp anywhere in the world there’s a 50-50 chance it was fed brine shrimp from the GSL.

“Good average number is 45% of global supply,” Hawkes told KSL NewsRadio.

Hawkes said when the lake levels dropped the brine shrimp were stressed from large amounts of salinity, and produced lower-quality eggs. But things have turned around.

“The conditions are much better (now that) those salinity levels have come down.”

(One sure sign that lake levels are rising was the recent Crane Day, where large boats were again placed in the Great Salt Lake Marina.


 That said, the lake has only recovered to the levels it was at in 2020.

“We’re cautiously optimistic as we move forward, but we know there’s a lot of work that remains to be done,” said Hawkes. 

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Great Salt Lake brine shrimp population increases as lake reaches healthy levels