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United States

Washington DC—WWF Says Intensive

Shrimp Farming a Good Thing

 

“Intensive shrimp farming can yield better environmental and economic results, according to a new study conducted by World Wildlife Fund in Vietnam and Thailand.  By producing more shrimp per hectare of land, farmers can increase production to meet growing demand for shrimp without increasing pressure on the region’s natural resources.”

 

“‘Natural resources like land, water, wild fish and energy come with a price tag,’ said Aaron McNevin, Ph.D., director of aquaculture for WWF’s Markets and Food program and lead author of the study.  ‘By using them more efficiently, farmers can improve their environmental and economic performance at the same time.’”

 

“The study in Vietnam and Thailand showed that, in most cases, intensive operations used land much more efficiently, yielding at least eight additional tons of shrimp on each hectare of land.  They also reduced the costs of land use by more than 90% per kilogram of shrimp.  The most intensive farms made more efficient use of energy as well, with energy costs that were 74% to 89% lower than the least intensive operations.  Intensification can also have negative implications as well such as more concentrated wastes in effluent and the potential to stress shrimp to the point that disease outbreaks occur.”

 

“Farmers use feed to produce about 3.6 million tons of shrimp each year.  If they all could improve feed efficiency by a factor of 0.1, it would save 106,000 hectares of land, 37 billion gallons of water, 468,000 tons of wild fish and 3.6 million gigajoules of energy—enough to power nearly 140,000 American homes for a year.  Moreover, the greater efficiency would equate to farm-level savings of up to $110 million in Thailand and Vietnam.”

 

“Though all natural resources are important, the land used in shrimp farming is primarily located in the coastal zone with high biodiversity, and making more efficient use of land may have the most significant and far-reaching environmental consequences.  Leaving habitat intact yields several benefits.  First, it mitigates the impact of climate change, which is driven by the loss of forests, mangroves and other carbon-rich ecosystems.  Second, protecting coastal zones provides breeding and nursing grounds for wild fish and other aquatic life.  Third, intact habitat—particularly coastal ecosystems such as mangroves—protects in-land communities from storm surges.”

 

“‘Of course, intensification is not a silver bullet,’ concluded Dr. McNevin.  ‘Transitioning to more intensive production has to be coupled with the halting of further expansion of the industry.  If intensification and halting expansion both occur, we can protect habitats and enable greater success for shrimp farmers.’”

 

Click Here for a full copy of the study.

 

Click Here for a four-and-a-half-minute video on the business case for responsible aquaculture.

 

Information: Susan McCarthy, Media and External Affairs, World Wildlife Fund (Phones: work 1-202-495-4133, mobile1-978-853-7752, Email susan.mccarthy@wwfus.org, Webpage https://www.worldwildlife.org).  June 22, 2017.

 

Dr. Dallas Weaver Responds to the Above

News Release

 

In response to the above news release, Dr. Dallas Weaver (deweaver@me.com), an aquaculture consultant and recirculating system expert, sent the following letter to Susan McCarthy, head of Media and External Affairs at the World Wildlife Fund.  Dr. Weaver, while agreeing with the general tenor of the news release, criticizes the last two sentences in it (below):

 

“Transitioning to more intensive production has to be coupled with the halting of further expansion of the industry.  If intensification and halting expansion both occur, we can protect habitats and enable greater success for shrimp farmers.”

 

Susan,

 

“The above article is right about the huge impact of better food conversion ratios and intensification.  However, the last statement about not expanding aquaculture is institutional insanity (a complete disconnect from reality with ‘sound-good’ nonsense).”

 

“We live on a finite planet with three billion more people on the way and two billion who need high-quality proteins in their diets (i.e. meats).  Aquaculture production of animals that don’t have to stand up or keep warm has an inherent advantage of using less ‘feed stuffs’ (everything from fish meal to corn/soy meal) per kilo of meat produced, allowing humanity to phase out cows, pigs and chickens in favor of aquaculture, without increasing the land area devoted to producing ‘feed stuffs,’ while providing meat to five billion more people.”

 

“Like Greenpeace’s good intentions of banning genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has created the consequence of tens of millions of blind children and millions of dead children over the years (see: http://supportprecisionagriculture.org/nobel-laureate-gmo-letter_rjr.html for a letter by more than 100 Nobel Prize-winning scientist on this subject).  The statements proposing halting aquaculture expansion will create unintended outcomes of destroying what few wild land areas are left on this planet for food production.”

 

“Perhaps, in the future, the WWF will also be accused of crimes against humanity like Greenpeace is presently accused, if you succeed in your anti-aquaculture expansion propaganda.”

 

Sources: 1. Email to Shrimp News International from the World Wildlife Fund.  Subject: WWF Research Finds Improved Environmental Performance is Good for Shrimp Aquaculture Business.  Susan McCarthy.  June 22, 2017.  2. Email to Shrimp News International from Dr. Dallas Weaver.  WWF Research Finds Improved Environmental Performance is Good for Shrimp Aquaculture Business.  June 24, 2017.