Bridging the gap between mangrove conservation and shrimp farming

Bridging the gap between mangrove conservation and shrimp farming.

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One initiative working to combine nature-based solutions and aquaculture with active measures is protecting the mangrove. This way, it is not just producing food sustainably – it is creating jobs and protecting livelihoods, too.

  • Sustainable aquaculture can protect the mangrove and coastal biodiversity.
  • Aquaculture is a source of employment, supporting 20.5 million jobs globally.
  • Mangrove reforestation, as a nature-based solution, is critical for the environment, business and people.
  • Sustainable shrimp commands higher prices, which mean higher local incomes.
  • A close partnership between successful private-sector seafood companies and conservation champions opens the door to transformational shifts.

Shrimp farming is a substantial business, with about 4.5 million tonnes produced that way last year alonemore than the amount caught by fishing.

This kind of aquaculture is a resource-efficient way of producing food. But there is concern about the effect of aquaculture on marine environments. 

About 70% of mangrove forests of Indonesia have been damaged or degraded by the practice. 

Around 3 billion people depend on seafood as their primary source of protein. And the world population expected to grow by 2 billion by 2050, this kind of food production sustainably is a pressing issue. 

Example of a nature-based solutions approach can make sure that this is the case.

One initiative working to combine nature-based solutions and aquaculture is Selva Shrimp, a program by Blueyou Consulting. First launched in VietNam, the project combines small-scale farming with active measures to protect the environment. This way, it is not just producing food sustainably – it is creating jobs and protecting livelihoods, too.

Backed by the IUCN’s Blue Natural Capital Financing Facility, Selva Shrimp is piloting the inclusion of nature-based solutions into shrimp farming in Indonesia to meet the growing appetite for consciously produced seafood. The effort aims to demonstrate the financial sustainability of such projects and their attractiveness, to show the world a path towards rectifying negative impacts generated during decades of unsustainable farming practices.

Every shrimp needs to grow with mangroves. 

And that its programme ensures incentives for farmers to change existing practices. Among these are substantially increased harvest sizes through improved farming practices and healthier environments, and a higher price for this premium product harvested mangrove areas reforested with young trees.

Similarly, the forests remain a liveable habitat and food source for many other aquatic species, including crabs, oysters and mudskippers.

The company wants to expand the project across the region

In total, Indonesia boasts a fifth of the mangrove forests of the world.

Mangrove forests are critical to the economic and food security of many coastal communities. They also provide a defence against floods and storms and have a crucial role in sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.

Widespread Benefits.

The benefits of initiatives like Selva Shrimp can spread a wider than just those tending the shrimp farms, providing additional employment throughout the economy.

Farming shrimp without antibiotics, feed or chemicals produces an organic product that commands a premium price on world markets – and the additional revenue generates employment, creating jobs for some of the poorest people of the world.

One study found that organic shrimp farming in Bangladesh had enabled even small-scale organic shrimp farmers to create jobs for local people.

Direct employment in maintaining shrimp farm infrastructure, new jobs were created as financially successful farmers needed hatcheries, nurseries, ice and processing plants to support their businesses.

And not just the benefit. The paper concluded: In Bangladesh, organic shrimp aquaculture has generated substantial employment for educated people, ensuring several diversified working opportunities.

Transformational change.

Aquaculture plays a significant role in supporting livelihoods, employment and local economic development among coastal communities in many developing countries, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It produces almost half of the fish supply of the world.

More than 20.5 million people engaged in aquaculture worldwide. Asia is accounting for the bulk of jobs in the sector at over 19.6 million.

Despite the environmental concerns around some practices, there has been a transformational change in reducing the impact of shrimp farming 

in the past three decades. 

Shrimp Farming in the coastal region of Bangladesh.

Since 1980, shrimp is a significant part of the economy of Bangladesh. However, this spontaneous and indiscriminate shrimp cultivating is gathering impressive discourse because of its negative ecological results. Environmental effects like mangrove destruction, sedimentation, saltwater interruption, loss of biodiversity and contamination are the obstructions to the sustainable shrimp cultivating. 

A large number of lands of terrains in the seaside territories included under shrimp cultivation. Unplanned and haphazard growth of shrimp culture influences the coastal ecosystem.

Is there any way to move towards a sustainable aquaculture system for shrimp? 

In sequence for aquaculture strategy to shift inside the heading of sustainable yield, the industry needs few conditions to grasp and tackle the complete spectrum of environmental effects by its operations. Consecutively, this infers shifting near closed production frameworks. 

Bangladesh has tremendous coastal and marine sources alongside its south edge. It is because of the reality of the geological position and climatic circumstance of the region. 

However, an unregulated coastal shrimp farming has emerged as the most unfavourable resource use over the past couple of decades in Bangladesh. 

Resources like feed, seed, and water supply influence the sustainability of shrimp aquaculture. In any case, it is anything but a maintainable sort of aquaculture. However, it is not a sustainable kind of aquaculture. 

A management system equally for eco-friendly and socially appropriate farming is a burning issue around the world. The long-haul advantages of shrimp farming can look for the improvement of ecologically viable shrimp farming. 

It will handle the ecological and financial issues produced by a sustainable method for shrimp farming.

Why we need nature-based solutions to bridge the gap between profit and conservation?

Like Selva Shrimp, we may combine small-scale farming with active nature conservation, thereby creating livelihoods for local communities while reviving heavily degraded ecosystems.

It may improve the aquaculture practices in marginalised areas and encourages the restoration and conservation of mangrove ecosystems. 

It may generate resilient local livelihoods, small-scale business alongside healthy ecosystems, a source of income, and an inclusive economy based on nature-based solutions.

Read More:

‘Shield the Mangrove’: The effects of mangrove deforestation in Sindh’s coastal regions

UAE National Environment Day: 200 mangrove seedlings planted in Sharjah sanctuary

Forest dept identifies 31 wetlands for conservation

Mangroves and coastal protection: A potential triple-win for Bangladesh

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About Zulker Naeen

Climate Journalist

Zulker Naeen is a South Asia Fellow at Climate Tracker. He has developed courses with the support of other Climate Tracker staff.

As a young climate advocate, his fellowship aims to share knowledge of climate change. Climate Tracker is a global media network closely works on Climate Change.

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If you have any questions, comments or want to get involved, email Zulker Naeen at – that’s me. I’d love to hear from you. And if you’ve been forwarded this email and liked what you saw, why not subscribe?

Bridging the gap between mangrove conservation and shrimp farming


  1. […] The aquaculture practice in the southwest coastal area is traditional; however, a rapid expansion of shrimp farming took place at the advent of commercial shrimp farming due to higher economic returns.  […]


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