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Thanks a Lot Mrs. Dager!

Bob Rosenberry (January 2017)

bob@shrimpnews.com • 1-650-282-5261

Most of this story is true. In 1949, at age 11, I farmed frogs, turtles and crawfish in southeastern Pennsylvania. Well, not exactly "farmed". During the summer, I would corral huge numbers of these critters and keep them in captivity until my mother made me release them in the fall. By then, of course, they were a pretty sorry looking bunch, barely able to walk, hop or swim to freedom, but much better off than those that were used in "the experiments".

Someone would cart me away if I told you about the experiments, so I'm gonna skip over that part of my aquaculture history. But, in the name of science, it should be reported that male eastern box turtles with big live crawfish glued to their backs were more successful in the breeding pits than males with unadorned shells.

Enter Mrs. Dager, my sixth grade teacher, a crusader for manners, morals and civilization. She emphasized literature, history, culture and the arts. Me, I longed for a primitive village where I could learn the arts of hunting, fishing, plunder and pillage. Dager and I just never got along. She said mean things to me ("Bobby you just move your lips while the other children sing."), and I did nasty things to her (live crawfish in her pockets).

It was a small town. When my family went out for dinner, we frequently bumped into Dager. She would always give me a big slobbery kiss and tell my parents what a wonderful student I was. All lies, of course, and very humiliating. I usually ordered several shrimp cocktails, instead of a regular meal. It was the sauce. I didn't care about the shrimp. Just kidding. On one occasion, Dager deftly stole one of my prized shrimp. I responded with a plague of "spring peepers" (noisy little frogs that chirp all night long) in her house.

But she got the last laugh. She infected me with the aquaculture virus. From out of the blue one day, she said, "You can grow ten times as much food in a pond as you can in a field." That's incredible, I thought, and for the next twenty years, her words rang in my ears whenever I got close to a pond, a fish, a shrimp—or a publicly-traded aquaculture company.

In the early 1970s, in San Diego, California, while dabbling in the stock market, I came across a company called Marine Protein, Inc. It raised fish in silos. After wiping the drool from my chin, I bought the company's stock the way a yearling trout takes the first fly of the season—high out of the water, eyes and mouth wide open—hook, line and sinker. A few months later, the entire investment was gone, and, as many of you have heard me say, I've been trying to get even ever since.

Thanks a lot Mrs. Dager!


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