Dead mangroves, devastated through shrimp aquaculture.
Over the last few decades shrimp farming has been a relentless
destroyer of huge expanses of tropical coastlines, particularly
mangrove forests. Mangrove forest roots are bulldozed into the mud
to make way for the intruding shrimp farms. The coastal equivalent
of terrestrial rain forests, mangroves are home to an incredibly
diverse range of life. They are breeding grounds and nurseries for
many fish, shellfish and other wildlife. Shrimp farming turns them
into a barren and toxic prawn cocktail.
Once the mangroves are ripped out, the coast is rendered
unstable,triggering erosion, harming coral reefs and seagrass beds,
andeliminating habitat for creatures from the humble molluscs up
the chainof life to the meek manatee.
While there are currently no precise figures on how great the
loss ofmangrove forests and other coastal wetlands is due to shrimp
farms,estimates are frightening, with as high as 38 percent of
mangroveforests being lost to shrimp farming.
As the wetlands vanish, fish catches decline and ecosystems are
knockedout of balance. Shrimp farms are often abandoned after only
three tofive years, leaving the once-fertile coastal ecosystem a
wasteland. Theproprietors then move on to destroy new
The ecological damage doesn't end with the mangrove loss. To
grow asmany shrimp as possible and maintain overcrowded
populations, largeamounts of artificial feed and chemical
additives, including chlorine,are added to this destructive
cocktail. Malathion, parathion, paraquatand other virulent
pesticides are also sprayed on the pools.
Along with the chemicals come several kinds of antibiotics,
usedheavily to prevent shrimp disease. This resulting virulent soup
iscommonly dumped onto the surrounding land or into local
waterways,where it harms people and other life.
Farming shrimp causes gigantic problems, even beyond the
environmentalharm, it can often decimate the coastal ecology that