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Brine shrimp forecast for Great Salt Lake looks good, state officials say

By Ben Winslow - Fox 13 | Aug 25, 2023
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Measuring only a few millimeters long, brine shrimp, are one of the few creatures that live in the waters of Great Salt Lake. While small, the local brine shrimp provide food for millions of migrating birds from around the world and fuel a multimillion-dollar brine shrimp harvesting industry.
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Great Salt Lake Collaborative

Editor's note: 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 plight of the Great Salt Lake -- and what can be done to make a difference before it is too late. Read all of our stories at greatsaltlakenews.org.

SALT LAKE CITY -- Some good news economically -- and ecologically -- for the Great Salt Lake.

A forecast by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is giving "good" chances for the annual brine shrimp harvest on the lake. Brine shrimp are a lucrative industry on the lake, bringing in millions of dollars a year.

It is a result of more water getting into the Great Salt Lake thanks to a fantastic winter and efforts to lower salinity levels. It also prolonged the brine shrimp hatch, leading to a better harvest forecast for shrimpers.

"Great Salt Lake supplies 40 to 50% of the worldwide demand for brine shrimp. It's an important part globally," John Luft, the program manager for the lake's ecoystem program for Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources, told FOX 13 News on Thursday.

People don't eat the brine shrimp, but their eggs are harvested and become food for a lot of things we do eat. Shrimp and fish bought in restaurants are fed with brine shrimp eggs. Millions of migratory birds also eat brine shrimp and brine flies at the lake.

The Great Salt Lake rose 5 1/2 feet as a result of a record-breaking winter. It is still about 4-5 feet below what is considered a healthy level for the lake's ecosystem.


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