Prawn, Tiger prawns (Farmed)

Penaeus monodon

Method of production — Farmed
Production country — Indonesia
Production method — Zero input system
Picture of Prawn, Tiger prawns (Farmed)

Sustainability rating two info

Sustainability overview

Farmed tiger prawn accounted for over 70% of the global consumption of the species in 2013. 99% of production comes from developing countries. 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 some countries. The rating provided applies at a country/regional level and 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: 5

Giant tiger prawns produced in extensive silvofishery systems consume a diet of naturally-occurring pond biota, such as phytoplankton and zooplankton. Since supplementary food is not provided, silvofishery systems have no reliance on wild-capture fisheries; this is possible since stocking densities are extremely low (no more than 5 fry per m3). In contrast to more intensive production techniques that use commercial diets, silvofishery yields are very small in comparison to their land footprint.


Environmental Impacts

Criterion Score: -1

One of the primary negative environmental drivers of Asian prawn production, including giant tiger prawn, has been the use of illegal chemicals and antibiotics by the sector, coupled with ineffective regulatory control. Since no chemicals are used in zero input systems this boosts their environmental performance score considerably. A further benefit of extensive production systems is that discharged effluents have little environmental impact; in fact, when stocking densities are very low, shrimp/prawn ponds are typically net removers of nutrients from the environment. Asian giant tiger prawn producers contribute significantly to soil salinisation, which impacts livelihoods and food security, and this production parameter, and its potential to cause negative impact. 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. The giant tiger prawn sector in Indonesia, primarily stock hatchery produced juveniles; these hatchery 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. While escapes inevitably occur, this species is native throughout the region and escapees are not thought to pose a genetic or competitive threat to wild stocks. Data deficiency concerning predatory control measures warrants a precautionary approach when applied to the sector.


Fish Health and Welfare

Criterion Score: 0

Immersion in an icy slurry is used as a method to kill the prawns at harvest. Although this is a standard industry practice, it is unclear if this method is aligned with the RSPCA’s definition of humane slaughter.



Criterion Score: 1 

Overall, although there are a multitude of legislative instruments in place to govern the aquaculture sector in Indonesia, 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. 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

Zero input system

Farming prawn in natural zero-input production systems, sometimes called silvofisheries, relies on the natural productivity of the surrounding environment to provide feed.


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.


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