The cultivation of shrimp through aquaculture has become a significant
contributor to the world shrimp supply; about 30% of the shrimp placed on the world
market come from shrimp farms (FA0 1999).
This study was conducted primarily through literature review to analyze the
practices of intensive shrimp aquaculture, their impacts on the environment, and recommendations for sustainability of this industry in the future. Research was conducted at the Institute Technologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Guaymas, Mexico and through the Hatfield Marine Science Center at Oregon State University.
The current environmental impacts that make the aquaculture industry
unsustainable include water circulation, poor feed conversion rates, habitat destruction,
effluent pollution, and use of antibiotics and pesticides. Improving internal technology
and practices of aquaculture through reduced water exchange rate and improvement of
feeding patterns and quality can alleviate these problems.
The sustainability of aquaculture also depends on extrinsic factors including
national policy, pollution, the market, climate change, and legislative control. Integrated
Coastal Zone Management (ICM) creates an integrated management approach which
holistically aims to guide coastal area development in an ecologically sustainable fashion.
There has been little research and development devoted to the implementation of
methods which are significantly different from those of popular models
(extensive, semi-extensive, intensive), that could satisfy the criteria for sustainability.
Given the environmental record of these models, the time has come for dedicated
scientific research and development of more sustainable alternatives.