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New Report Highlights Environmental Sustainability Challenges on Asian Shrimp Farms

15 April 2016, at 1:00am

GLOBAL - The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) has completed its first-ever sector report on shrimp aquaculture in Southeast Asia, identifying geographical areas needing improvement in six different countries.

SFP looked at data gathered from local sources, as well as aggregated market analysis from SFP’s industry partners. The study covers shrimp produced in Thailand, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Philippines, Myanmar, and Cambodia.

The report highlighted 16 provinces in six countries – Thailand, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, India and Bangladesh – where SFP recommends improvement efforts, especially for farmed shrimp. The prioritized geographies are all significant producers and exporters of shrimp, and are also facing pressing sustainability concerns.

Nicole Portley, analyst with SFP and author of the report said: “It’s important to emphasize that this report really focuses on environmental sustainability issues. There are many complex issues in shrimp production but we hope this report will offer the seafood industry some tangible advice on how to start making improvements in their supply chains.”

SFP encourages the seafood industry to work with local producers to initiate shrimp-focused aquaculture improvement projects (AIPs) in the priority provinces and implement zonal management strategies that address the disease management needs and environmental concerns that are prevalent in these regions.

The rapid and generally uncoordinated growth in farmed shrimp production in Southeast Asia has led to issues including major disease outbreaks, on-going impacts on sensitive habitats and concerns over water quality. Suggested improvements include better coordination within the industry and more effective planning and management of an ever-intensifying industry.

“There is no doubting the value of shrimp farming to the economies of these countries, but something revolutionary needs to be done to tackle the ever-repeating cycle of disease outbreaks. Just as salmon has done, the shrimp industry needs to recognize that farms don’t operate in isolation. Strong industry leadership is needed at the local, national and regional level if shrimp is going to live up to its full potential,” said Anton Immink, SFP’s Director of Aquaculture.

The report also notes:

  • Aquaculture’s share of the Asian shrimp industry is growing, with farms currently accounting for 58% of the shrimp production in the ten profiled countries and 87% of their shrimp exports.

  • Intensification of whiteleg shrimp (Pennaeus vannamei) farming in Thailand, Vietnam, India, and Indonesia over the past 15 years has afforded these countries rapid growth in shrimp production and dominance over global shrimp export markets (all four countries export over half of their shrimp production, with individual national shrimp export values of over $1 billion). China has also intensified its farmed production, but retains much of its shrimp to meet growing domestic demand.

  • The Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) crisis of 2011–2014 highlighted the disease risk represented by rapid intensification of shrimp aquaculture, with Thailand suffering particularly acute losses in production and being surpassed by Vietnam, China, and India in shrimp export volume. While recovery to pre-EMS production volumes is projected in 2016, concern about the growing prevalence of spore-forming parasite Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP), which slows shrimp growth and weakens its productivity, is increasing.

  • The sixteen prioritized provinces are located in six of the profiled countries and account for approximately 35% of global warm-water shrimp exports.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

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