Prawn, King (whiteleg), prawns

Litopenaeus vannamei

Method of production — Farmed
Production country — Ecuador, Honduras
Production method — Pond system, intensive
Picture of Prawn, King (whiteleg), prawns

Sustainability rating three info

Sustainability overview

In general intensive prawn/shrimp farming is associated with a number of negative environmental impacts which are of concern, these include: The reliance on an unsustainable feed source; the risk of salinisation of freshwater bodies; discharge of organic matter and nutrients leading to environmental changes; the use of chemicals and therapeutics in production and the potential of disease transfer between farmed and wild prawns. Marine prawns are carnivorous requiring high protein inclusion on their diet, this is one of the most critical concerns regarding prawn farming as the supply of fishmeal and fish-oil being used is, in general not traceable to species level and is not certified sustainable particularly in SE Asia. However, there is a significant amount of International work being undertaken at present to address and improve feed production and sourcing. There are also concerns regarding the current regulatory framework and level of enforcement for aquaculture production in some countries. The rating provided applies at a country/regional level, and excludes GAA BAP 1* certified prawns as this 1* only applies to the processing plant. MCS recognises there is a diversity of practices and producers of warmwater prawn, some of which may be working to improve their practices. In these exceptional cases MCS would encourage support of these producers provided, and only if, a commitment to improvement which ultimately leads to achieving a recognised production standard can be verified.

Feed Resources

Criterion Score: -1

The intensity of L. vannamei production in Ecuador and Honduras is much lower than is employed by Asian farmers producing this species. Lower stocking densities, coupled with the fact that shrimp also feed on naturally occurring biota in the pond, keeps FCRs relatively low. Despite this lower intensity approach, farmers in this region typically use commercial feeds produced by well-established, global feed companies. These feed companies are demonstrably striving towards using 100% responsible feed inputs within the next two years.

info

Environmental Impacts

Criterion Score: 0

The intensity of L. vannamei production in Ecuador and Honduras is much lower than is employed by Asian farmers producing this species. Lower stocking densities, coupled with the fact that shrimp also feed on naturally occurring biota in the pond, keeps FCRs relatively low. Despite this lower intensity approach, farmers in this region typically use commercial feeds produced by well-established, global feed companies. These feed companies are demonstrably striving towards using 100% responsible feed inputs within the next two years.

info

Fish Health and Welfare

Criterion Score: -1

Due to data deficiency on this topic, a precautionary score of -1 has been assessed for this aspect of production.

info

Management

Criterion Score: 3

As a result of the significant impact diseases had on the sector during the 1990s, present-day shrimp farmers in Ecuador and Honduras mainly favour semi-intensive production practices. These historical disease issues also prompted greater scrutiny of the regulations governing the sector and resulted in a more robust legal framework being put in place. However, a review of the sector indicates that current governance may not be adequately resourced to effectively manage the potential environmental impacts of the industry, particularly as the sector expands and production increases.

info

Production method

Pond system, intensive

Prawn /shrimp are farmed in saline/brackish water ponds of various sizes and intensities in many parts of the world, either in coastal areas or inland within or outside the intertidal zone.

Biology

The king prawn (or whiteleg prawn, white shrimp) belongs to the largest of the prawn and shrimp family, the Penaeidae. It is a native species of the Eastern Pacific coast. Its lifecycle may be divided into 6 stages or phases, from embryo to adult, which it completes in one year. The age of sexual maturity varies from 5 to 7 months. They can live up to 2 years in the wild although farmed prawns are usually harvested at 6 months.

References

FAO 2006-2018.Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme. Penaeus vannamei. Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme. Text by Briggs, M. In: FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department [online]. Rome. Updated 7 April 2006. [Cited 10 September 2018]

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Farmed Shrimp report, 2004. Available online at: http://www.seafoodwatch.org/seafood-recommendations/groups/shrimp?q=Shrimp&t=shrimp

F. Paez Osuna (A): The environmental impact of shrimp aquaculture: a global perspective. Environmental Pollution 112 (2001) 229-231
F. Paez Osuna: The Environmental Impact of Shrimp Aquaculture: Causes, Effects, and Mitigating Alternatives. Environmental Management.2001 Vol. 28, No. 1

Sustainable Fisheries Partnership. Seafood Sectors - Shrimp. Available online at: http://www.sustainablefish.org/global-programs/seafood-sectors/seafood-sectors-shrimp and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjRlAs-cKgY

IFFO 2009, FIFO ratios explained. Available online at: http://www.iffo.net/system/files/EAS%20FIFO%20September2009%202_0.pdf

ASC: Draft standards for responsible shrimp aquaculture 2011.