Unsustainable shrimp farming

Shrimp aquaculture requires large quantities of water. To raise one metric ton of shrimp takes between 50 million and 60 million litres of water, about half of it freshwater. This is a serious drain in many regions where freshwater is scarce.

Each kilogram of shrimp produced generates about 15,000 litres of effluent, with residues of toxic chemicals. This chemical stew is released untreated into the groundwater, contaminating the drinking water of local communities.

1. Brazilian shrimp fishing harms turtles.

2. According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, per capita shrimp consumption in the United States tripled between 1983 and 1993. If it reaches Japan's levels, some scientists predicted, virtually all the world's tropical coastlines will vanish as shrimp farms are built to meet their demand.

3. Increasingly, shrimp farming is run by multinational companies. They have little interest in providing jobs for local communities and threaten to go elsewhere if regulations become too strict.

4. Shrimp farming is unsustainable. Some 200,000 hectares of coastal lands have been abandoned worldwide in recent years after producing shrimp for just four or five years. Such areas may take between 15 and 20 years to regenerate.

(E) Emanations of other problems