Aquaculture gets a bum wrap again


The opening of  this article, first published in a Latin American newspaper, jumped out at me:

Shrimp farming, one of the most destructive industries for coastal ecosystems, may soon be endowed with a set of standards… [emphasis added]

It is true that some shrimp aquaculture production practices have negative impacts on coastal ecosystems, but it is important to keep things in perspective.  Shrimp aquaculture impacts pale in comparison to activities such as

  • agricultural production
  • animal grazing
  • urban and industrial development
  • salt production
  • oil and natural gas extraction
  • mining
  • Mangrove clearing for firewood, lumber and pulp (for paper)

These are all as destructive as poorly managed shrimp aquaculture and are much more widespread.

The industry has cleaned up its act since the 1980’s and 90’s when large areas of mangrove forests were cleared to make room for shrimp ponds and progress continues due to efforts such as the WWF sponsored dialogue disparaged by the article.