The vein is relatively easy to remove. One must first cut a slit in the shell and the back of the animal. Special deveining tools are sometimes used but knives, skewers, and even toothpicks can be used to devein.
Removing the vein is not essential, as it is not poisonous and is mostly tasteless. Deveining does slightly change the flavour and makes it more consistent. However, aesthetically the vein does not look appealing. Shrimp also sometimes consume small amounts of sand by accident and the vein thus might be gritty.