Agriculture and Environment: Shrimp

Environmental Impacts of Production: Chemicals & Medicines

The main chemicals used in shrimp aquaculture are fertilisers, which stimulate growth of plankton on which the shrimp feed, and various forms of lime (calcium) that are used to adjust the acidity of the water and underlying soil.

Zeolites are also added to remove ammonia. In some instances, calcium hypochlorite, formalin, chlorine, and other compounds are used to kill pathogens and pests.


Routine use of antibiotics
Medicines are another story. Many shrimp farmers still use medications such as antibiotics routinely. A recent survey by the Global Aquaculture Alliance of what are considered some of the more progressive producers in the industry found that 35% were using such antibiotics as chloramphenical (George Chamberlain, personal communication).

In all likelihood, poorer and less-educated producers are probably more likely to misuse medications. They are also probably more susceptible to the salespeople who push medications.

How effective are they anyway?
Antibiotics and other medications can be added directly to the water or included in the feed. One survey in Colombia indicated that 15% of producers still have antibiotics included in the manufacture of part of their feed. The most problematic aspect of prophylactic use of medications is that those used are not even effective for the diseases that are common (e.g., antibiotics are used for viral diseases).

Credits

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

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