Next time you order that icy jumbo shrimp cocktail, you can use this little factoid to impress your date: Shrimp are what scientists call “shredders and tearers.” They’re considered opportunistic eaters, meaning they will nibble on anything they can get their grubby little hands on. Plankton, algae, maybe a dead fish they’ve bumped into by accident. They’re not fussy eaters, which is why a byproduct of the ethanol industry — dried distillers grains — looks especially promising to scientists focused on developing new kinds of farmed fish feed. Nom. Nom.

While there’s been some confusion over when exactly the world will be eating more farm-raised seafood than wild caught — what’s not disputable is that our trajectory is pointed straight in that direction. (The Food and Agriculture Organization first predicted the milestone in 2009 [PDF], but has since revised it to 2015 [PDF].) Since then, the aquaculture industry has been in a race to develop more sustainable and efficient feed for all types of farm-raised fish with wildly varying nutritional needs — after all, a vegetarian tilapia has different requirements than a carnivorous salmon. The trend, however, is to move toward more plant-based options, in part as a way to put less burden on the sea.

Why turn to vegetarian feed?