Shrimp farming in estuarine environment: Points to ponder
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The capture fishery resources have almost reached a sustainable yield and the production can only be supplemented through culture fishery practices. This is particularly true in case of marine shrimps. The annual foreign exchange earning from marine products export has touched Rs.4000 crores of which greater than 70% is accounted by shrimp and shrimp products. During the last decade, aquaculture of shrimps has been expanding in India, both in terms of area (85,000 ha) and yield (100,000 t). Most of the expansion has taken place around the estuarine area as it facilitates water exchange and waste disposal. In semi-intensive and extensive type of farming practices, use of different types of chemicals and antibiotics, artificial feeds, probiotics and immunostimulants, etc. have become inevitable. Besides, large quantities of organic waste are also being generated in the farms due to excess use of feeds. The cumulative effects had caused some environmental problems and outbreak of diseases in prawns in certain pockets along the east coast of India. It is in this background that the present paper examines the impact of shrimp farming that could possibly have some adverse effect on the estuarine and coastal ecosystems. The impacts have been broadly grouped into four major areas viz. excess land use, physical disturbances, nutrient and organic matter enrichment and chemical residues are discussed.
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