Sustainability Rating

Click to Learn More

seafood encyclopedia

Shrimp - Tropical: Whiteleg


  • Scientific Name: Panaeus vannamei
  • US Market Name(s): Shrimp
  • Canada Market Name(s): Shrimp

Culinary Profile

Whiteleg Shrimp have a firm - mild and somewhat sweet flavour.


Whiteleg Shrimp - also referred to as Pacific White Shrimp - are one of the most popular farmed Shrimp species. Main producing nations include – India, Thailand, China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Ecuador and Vietnam. A small amount are also farmed in the US, primarily in Texas. The Shrimp’s head contains all vital organs - including the antennae. Along the abdomen - or tail - is the intestine and ten periopods – or walking legs - and ten pleopods – or swimming legs. These allow the Shrimp to walk along the seafloor or to swim forwards and backwards. Maximum size depends on sex. Females are slightly larger than males and can grow to be 9 inches long.


This species is native to the Eastern Pacific Ocean - ranging from Mexico to Peru. Whiteleg can be found on muddy bottoms at depths of 0 – 240 feet.

Fishing Season

Sustainability Status

Shrimp are highly resilient to overfishing because they have a short lifespan, are fast growers and produce many young. Farmed Whiteleg Shrimp have been ranked on the “avoid” list by environmental organizations. This ranking is due to pollution including - nutrient effluent discharge, use of banned antibiotics and habitat degradation. In addition - depending on the country - management practices are sometimes non-existent or poorly enforced.

Fishy Fact: Whiteleg Shrimp is the main species of Shrimp cultivated in western countries.


Available as Value Added, Commodity, Custom Packing.