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Brine shrimp becomes an official symbol for Utah

By Derick Fox,


SALT LAKE CITY ( ABC4 ) — The state of Utah has a new symbol after Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill on Friday making the brine shrimp the official state crustacean.

According to the Dept. of Wildlife Resources (DWR), brine shrimp are small crustaceans that live in salty water around the world, including the Great Salt Lake. The tiny creatures only grow to be between a third of an inch to half an inch in size.

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The small but mighty brine shrimp play an important role, not just in the Great Salt Lake but globally. DWR said the shrimp eat algae in the lake, keeping the Great Salt Lake’s ecosystem healthy. Globally, brine shrimp eggs are used as food for fish and commercially grown shrimp. DWR said the brine shrimp from a fisher at the Great Salt Lake supplies over 40% of the worldwide demand.

As lake levels drop and the salinity levels rise, brine shrimp in the Great Salt Lake are in danger of going extinct.


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“The importance of the brine shrimp in the Great Salt Lake ecosystem can’t be overstated,” said DWR Great Salt Lake Ecosystem Program Manager John Luft. “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 bill, H.B. 137 , was spearheaded by a group of 6th-graders from Emerson Elementary School , with the help of Rep. Rosemary T. Lesser (D-Ogden). With the bill officially signed into law by Gov. Cox on Friday, March 17, it’s an exciting victory for the students and the awareness of the importance of brine shrimp in Utah.

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