The environmental management of shrimp farming in Australia

In Australia, strict Commonwealth and state environmental regulations have constrained uncontrolled development of shrimp farming. A high level of resources, relative to the size and value of the industry, has been devoted to collaborative research on the environmental management of shrimp farming in Australia. This research has quantified nutrient processes in shrimp ponds, determined whole farm nutrient budgets, analysed effluent composition, determined the effects of different effluent treatment strategies, and traced the fate of effluent in receiving waters. The research findings are being used to provide a scientific basis for discharge license requirements for shrimp farming. These data are also being incorporated into an advanced geographic information and decision support system in order to improve site selection and aquaculture planning. Despite these improvements, however, public concerns persist about the environmental management of shrimp farms.

One potential avenue for providing a more logical and systematic basis for this debate is through the establishment of environmentally sustainable development (ESD) performance criteria for the industry. The current study begins this process with an initial focus on the Queensland shrimp farming industry. A central finding of this study is that environmental management of shrimp farms needs to be incorporated into environmental management of the water body and catchments adjacent to shrimp farms. By this means, aquaculture can be compared to other forms of agriculture, particularly in relation to permitted discharge loads. This concept is not unique to Queensland or Australia but has rarely been addressed for any location. We anticipate that this study will provide an opportunity to determine more effective ways of broadening the environmental planning and licensing of shrimp farming to include environmental standards for the whole catchment.


Publisher: Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific

Rights: Copyright, all rights reserved.


Shrimp Farming and the Environment

This collection of publications originates from the International Consortium Program on Shrimp Farming and the Environment, which was implemented by the World Bank, the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The consortium supported 35 complementary case studies prepared by more than 100 researchers in more than 20 shrimp farming countries.