Development, environment and shrimp aquaculture: the emerging challenge of inland low-salinity shrimp culture in Thailand




Miller, Paul John

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Farm-raised marine shrimp are Thailand's most important agricultural export, earning $US 2.4 billion annually in revenues for the government. Thailand's experience with intensive shrimp culture spans almost two decades. First generation marine shrimp farms. located mostly in coastal areas. have given way to a second generation of shrimp farms located in freshwater and brackishwater areas. The success of these second generation farms is attributed to the discovery by farmers that they can successfully cultivate a marine species of shrimp under low-salinity conditions. The nature of this innovation. referred to as inland or low-salinity culture. has greatly increased the potential for establishing shrimp cultivation much further from the coast than previously believed possible. While there are still many coastal shrimp farms. the most significant industry expansion since the mid 1990s has occurred in the irrigated floodplain and delta of Thailand's central plain. The output from low-salinity shrimp culture in freshwater areas now accounts for a large and rising proportion of total Thai production. and is a significant component of world production. This dissertation investigates the development of low-salinity shrimp culture in Thailand. The key findings were the firsthand documentation of the factors contributing to the development of low-salinity shrimp farming in freshwater environments. This study documents the innovations in hatchery and farming techniques. examines the development of the saltwater infrastructure required to sustain inland shrimp ponds. and identifies the land and water management challenges associated with low-salinity culture from both the government and producer perspective. The methodology adopted to achieve the research objectives consisted of secondary data review, farm and key informant surveys utilizing semi-structured interviews. informal interviews and discussions. and statistical description and analysis. The research was completed during four separate field investigations totaling ten months over an eight-year period from 1997 to 2004. Recommendations are offered to improve the environmental management of low-salinity shrimp culture.



aquaculture, shrimp fisheries, Thailand