Prawn, Tiger prawns (Farmed)

Penaeus monodon

Method of production — Farmed
Production country — India, Vietnam and Indonesia
Production method — Semi-intensive and improved extensive
Picture of Prawn, Tiger prawns (Farmed)

Sustainability rating five info

Sustainability overview

In general intensive prawn/shrimp farming is associated with a number of negative environmental impacts which are of concern, these include: Impacts on ecologically sensitive habitats; 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 South East Asia. 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: -4

In terms of production volumes, the majority of giant tiger prawn exports from Vietnam, Indonesia and India are cultured in semi-intensive and improved extensive production systems, which require feed inputs. These production sectors lack transparency with regards to the provenance of the feed inputs they use. This lack of data means that a precautionary approach must be taken to assess this aspect of production, resulting in the lowest possible score for this factor.


Environmental Impacts

Criterion Score: -9

Many shipments of Asian prawns, including giant tiger prawns, have been rejected by importers in recent times due to the detection of illegal chemical residues; it is evident that the regulatory framework governing chemical use is ineffective. Asian giant tiger prawn producers also contribute significantly to soil salinisation, which impacts livelihoods and food security. Although shrimp and prawn farming have historically been responsible for large-scale mangrove removal, this destructive practise has greatly diminished as awareness of its detrimental impacts has grown. Although the giant tiger prawn sector primarily stocks hatchery produced juveniles, these facilities are reliant on wild-caught broodstock and the status of wild stocks is unknown. While shrimp are susceptible to an array of diseases, particularly viral pathogens, it is notable that direct environmental impacts of shrimp viruses have not been commonly observed. Escapes inevitably occur, however this species is native throughout the region and escapees are not thought to pose a genetic or competitive threat to wild stocks. While non-lethal predatory controls would appear to be the norm within the sector, a precautionary approach has been applied in assessing this aspect of production due to data deficiency.


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.



Criterion Score:0 

Overall, although there are a multitude of legislative instruments in place to govern the aquaculture sectors in Vietnam, Indonesia and India, these regulatory frameworks can only be said to be partially effective in minimizing negative environmental impacts - and in some instances there is evidence that these regulations are ineffective. The primary legislative failure affecting Asian shrimp/prawn production at present pertains to ineffective governance of chemical use by the sector - which is evidenced by the ongoing rejection of many exported shipments due to the detection of illegal chemical residues. Although management of mangroves has improved greatly over recent years, more effective enforcement of legislation is required in order to safeguard these valuable habitats.


Production method

Semi-intensive and improved extensive

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 tiger prawn belongs to the largest of the prawn and shrimp family, the Penaeidae. 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 11 months. They can live up to 2 years in the wild although farmed prawns are usually harvested at 6 months.


FAO 2005-2018. Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme. Penaeus monodon. Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme. Text by Kongkeo, H. In: FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department [online]. Rome. Updated 29 July 2005. [Cited 11 September 2018]

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Farmed Shrimp report, 2004. Available online at:

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: and

IFFO 2009, FIFO ratios explained. Available online at:

ASC: Draft standards for responsible shrimp aquaculture 2011.