Anon AreerazdeManager of Samaphan Farm in Tumbol Nuen Pra, Amphur Moung of the Rayong Province, Thailand
Our idea is to have sustainable production. We need to raise shrimp by relying on nature without using chemicals. So we set up our two principles. First is not to destroy the environment and second is that we use no chemicals. From these two principles, we discover many management techniques to apply to our shrimp culture.
Compared with the other shrimp farmers, we can manage easier, there is less disease problem and a faster growth rate. If you stock at a high density, the management is more difficult, there is a huge amount of accumulated sludge, and shrimp become stressed.
Since our ponds are 17 years old, we need to use microorganisms to help improve the bottom soil and enhance the decomposition. We use many aerators, both surface and bottom aeration, in order to make sure that microorganisms can work very effectively.
We work as a cooperative because when you face a problem, there is someone that will help you solve the problem. Also, you have more power to purchase things like shrimp feed. In addition, there is a benefit when you sell your product, because you get higher prices when you sell in big lots.
Claude Boydprofessor in Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures at Auburn University, Alabama & chair of the technical committee of the Global Aquaculture Alliance
People want to eat shrimp. It's the same way you don't have to have major league baseball or professional football, but people watch it. So they support it, but it's completely unessential to the society. Shrimp could be looked at along those lines. It's not a staple in anybody's diet but people like to eat it, so they'll buy it. Although from the standpoint of food security, it's not going to feed a lot of starving people, that's for sure.
You'd find that few owners of the big shrimp farms are natives of the exact area where they're farming. In the short-term view, it creates jobs, and there are farmers that are growing shrimp that have been successful. However, when they have a problem and everything collapses, then there is an economic problem.
One of the major advances has been the development of better practices in general for producing shrimp. Specifically, I think one of the best things they've done is to produce the rootstock on the farm. That's been done in some places where they don't have to catch them from the sea. They're developing these strains, so when they leave the hatchery, they're free of disease.
There is a general awareness that shrimp farmers shouldn't be using antibiotics. This is a big concern. In fact, there has been quite a bit of improvement in the degree that the producers are aware of the harm that they do to the environment or the effect of some problems with the market. So, they're trying to do better.
B. Joseph GuglielmoDirector of Antimicrobial Management Program at the University of California San Francisco
We have a bit of a problem with aquaculture and antibiotic use in that there are a number of unknowns. One has to be concerned that there are significant risks. Those risks primarily relate to the development of antibiotic resistance bacteria, which could be harmful to the animals that are being fed it and ultimately to the humans that consume these products.
A large reason that antibacterials are used prophylactically in aquaculture is because of the density of the population, in this case the shrimp. If a few shrimp get infected, they all get infected. So, perhaps it's time to rethink the way the practice takes place, think of the economic ramifications etc., and see if there might be a better way to manage these shrimp in these very tightly packed areas.
Resistance, to me, is the biggest issue. It's particularly an issue anytime a practice takes place to prevent infection in animals or in fish or in shrimp. If that same antibiotic or antibacterial is used in humans, in the active treatment of disease, that is a recipe for disaster.