Prawn, King (whiteleg), prawns

Litopenaeus vannamei

Method of production — Farmed
Production country — Global
Production method — Pond system
Certification — GlobalGap certified
Picture of Prawn, King (whiteleg), prawns

Sustainability rating three info

Sustainability overview

GlobalGap certification standards for the production of warm water prawns defines and enforces production standards to address many issues of concern. Intensive prawn/shrimp farming is associated with a number of negative environmental impacts which are of concern, these include: The use of unsustainable feed resources ; the risk of salinisation of freshwater bodies; discharge of organic matter and nutrients leading to environmental changes; 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. They are also concerns regarding the current regulatory framework and level of enforcement for aquaculture production in some areas.

Feed Resources

Criterion Score: 0

Feed ingredients, both marine and terrestrial for GlobalGap certified prawns are traceable and encouraged to be responsibly sourced although this is not a requirement.


Environmental Impacts

Criterion Score: -4

Whiteleg prawn have a number of environmental issues associated with their production, many of which are mitigated or limited by the GlobalGap certification standards. These include: freshwater impacts and use; habitat impacts; pond discharge, escape risk and disease outbreaks and predator control.


Fish Health and Welfare

Criterion Score: 0

Welfare standards are included within the GlobalGap criteria. Widespread disease outbreaks however are known for this species.



Criterion Score: 2

Criteria for certification to the GlobalGap standard meets the requirements for regulation of production, overall they are effective however major disease outbreaks are still occurring.


Production method

Pond system

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


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.


Global G. A. P., 2016. Global Gap Farm Assurance, All Farm Base- Aquaculture Module, Control Points and Compliance Criteria, English Version 5.0, Edition 5.0- 02 July 2016, Obligatory From 01 July 2016

Global G. A. P., 2016. Global Gap Compound Feed Manufacturing, General Rules, Addendum to Global Gap General Regulations, English Version 2.2, Valid from 01 August 2016

Tacon, A. G. J., Metian, M., 2015. Feed Matters: Satisfying the Feed Demand of Aquaculture. Reviews in Fisheries Science and Aquaculture, 23:1-10

Tacon, A. G. J., Jory, D., Nunes, A., 2013. Shrimp feed management: issues and perspectives. On-farm Feed. Feed Managemen Aquaculture, 481-488

Tacon, A. G. J., Metian, M., 2008. Global overview on the use of fish meal and fish oil in industrially compounded aquafeeds: Trends and future prospects. Aquaculture 285:146-158

Thitamadee, S., Prachumwat, A., Srisala, J., Jaroenlak, P., Salachan, P.V., Sritunyalucksana, K., Flegel, T.W. and Itsathitphaisarn, O., 2016. Review of current disease threats for cultivated penaeid shrimp in Asia. Aquaculture, 452, pp.69-87