Agriculture and Environment: Shrimp

Better Management Practices: Use of Chemicals & Medicines

Shrimp producers should not use chemicals or medications prophylactically.

Furthermore, they should not use any chemicals or medications that are banned in the countries that buy their product. The use of such items should be in response to specific problems that have been identified.


When chemicals or medications are used, the water should be held for the amount of time required for that substance to break down before it is released into the environment.

Need to create awareness in producers
Most informed producers realise that the routine use of medicines can create resistance so that the same medicine will not be effective when it is needed. It is not clear that smaller, less-educated producers understand this concept.

Any problem is accentuated when illiterate producers cannot read the labels. The real problems arise during periods of new disease outbreak when most producers will do anything to protect the animals and their investment.

During such periods, a wide range of medicines and home remedies are tried to see if any will help reduce the risk of total crop loss.

Avoid overstocking or overfeeding
The best way to maintain healthy ponds is to avoid overstocking or overfeeding. Good health is directly related to reduced stress or the conditions that lead to it.

Incentives for adoption of BMPs
Consequently, the most profitable operations are those that have found ways to promote better management by creating worker incentives that are tied directly to monitoring and maintaining the health and density of the animals stocked, and to reducing the feeding levels to what is actually eaten so that water quality can be maintained.

Feeding trays help producers monitor overall feed intake as well as feeding habits. Some farmers put all their feed in feeding trays (which requires much labour); others only use feeding trays as an indicator of what is happening in the pond.

More intensive shrimp producers tend to fertilise their ponds to stimulate growth of aquatic organisms that young shrimp eat. Over time in such operations, the natural feed in the water column is supplemented with manufactured feed. Historically, traditional agricultural fertilisers were used.

Introducing "bokashi"
There are some attempts to use "bokashi" (fermented organic matter that includes effective microorganisms) as a substitute for inorganic fertiliser. The beneficial microbes in the bokashi digest the organic matter, which in turn promotes the development of plankton and diatoms as natural feed for the shrimp (Panfilo Tabora, personal communication).

Credits

Extracts from "World Agriculture & Environment" by Jason Clay - buy the book online from Island Press

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