At the Environment?s Expense
Mangroves are among the most important ecosystems on Earth. These tropical coastal forests support a tremendous variety of marine life; they support coral reefs and seagrass beds, which in turn support two-thirds of all fish caught in the world. Stands of these unique trees are being hacked down to make room for shrimp farms. Nearly half of the loss of mangroves in the world has been attributed to shrimp farming.
As if this isn’t bad enough, shrimp farms are only productive for a few years, leading the industry to constantly destroy more pristine coastal areas. In Thailand, one-fifth of shrimp farms in former mangrove areas are abandoned after two to four years.
Shrimp farms depend on staggering amounts of antibiotics, fungicides, algaecides and pesticides, which pollute waters and harm other sea life. What’s worse, local communities are robbed of drinking water sources by farms that pump in fresh water and pump out wastewater – a wretched cocktail of chemicals, fishmeal and shrimp feces. In Sri Lanka, three-fourths of the people who live in shrimp farming areas lack ready access to drinking water.
Mangrove forest turned into shrimp flats in Ecuador
What You Can Do!
- Do not buy farm-raised shrimp.
- Talk to your seafood grocer about the costs of farm-raised shrimp.
- Ask for local or U.S. “pot caught” shrimp.
- Support local fishermen and local seafood.