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Dead mangroves, devastated through shrimp aquaculture.

Shrimp farming

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 territory.

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 communities dependupon.

The latest updates

 

More boats and more fishing will end up in empty plates and empty future

Blog entry by Apple Chow | December 6, 2012 1 comment

Fishing is not quite what it used to be. Even in the Pacific where images of sunny shores, palm tress and little canoes may prevail, reality underneath the waves is quite something else. Some of the biggest and most powerful fishing...

It's simple: Ban the FAD

Blog entry by Duncan Williams | December 5, 2012

Philippines is a great country. " It’s more fun in the Philippines " is an aptly coined slogan for its tourism campaign. Greenpeace put that slogan to the test this morning with an impromptu activity aimed at delivering a similar...

IUU Report Illegal Transshipment

Publication | December 1, 2012 at 17:37

Greenpeace conducted an expedition in the waters of Palau and the Pacific High Seas Pocket 1, the area of international waters between the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and Papua New Guinea (2). This is...

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Pacific must solidify their position to save its ocean

Blog entry by Navi Tuivuniwai | November 29, 2012

The annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) is scheduled to kick start in Manila, Philippines on December 2, 2012. On board the MY Esperanza, we’ve just completed the last leg of the  “Defending...

Help end overfishing

Image gallery | November 29, 2012

Ocean Defender Ship Tour

Feature story | November 28, 2012 at 14:10

Greenpeace ship MY Esperanza is in the final part of the "Save our Oceans Asia Pacific Tour" after visiting South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Palau, and is now en route to Manila for the upcoming Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission...

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A day in the life of Geneviva

Blog entry by Cristina Nitafan | November 26, 2012

On board the African Queen, one of MY Esperanza ’s inflatable boats, we approached GENEVIVA, a purse seine fishing vessel from the Philippines. As we got nearer, the crew from the ship gave their genuine smiles and even gave us a hand...

Today's action, tomorrow's impact: a diver's reflection

Blog entry by Wansiri Rongrongmuang | November 23, 2012

Vast indigo ocean, endless blue sky with different shades of clouds and a small group of determined people wanting to change something, here I am in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with Greenpeace. It was almost like I used my...

Etching the Pacific ‘Storyboard’ of our Oceanic Realm

Blog entry by Seni Nabou | November 20, 2012

One of the first delights I first discovered when I first visited Palau in mid-2000 was that  similar to Papua New Guinea , storyboards – carvings etched in wooden slabs depicting stories / myths / legends – were also a  traditional...

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