The profitability of shrimp exports has encouraged thousands of farmers in the deltas of Cà Mau in Vietnam to convert from rice farming to intensive shrimp aquaculture — the fastest-growing food source globally. Cà Mau is home to half of Vietnam’s shrimp production, an export industry worth USD 3.1 billion in 2013 alone. However, over the past 15 years, more and more of their shrimp have been dying from disease. Mangrove forests are the natural habitat and breeding ground of shrimp and are integral to natural ecosystems, protecting against tidal waves and storm surges, and providing vital fish nursery grounds. They also function as blue carbon sinks. In response to the rising global demand for shrimp over the past three decades, over half of Vietnam’s natural mangrove forest has been cleared to accommodate shrimp aquaculture ponds. As a result, the deltas of Cà Mau are now pockmarked with failed shrimp ponds, abandoned because of high costs and decreasing returns due to erosion, pollution, and shrimp disease. In 2012, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) took up this challenge with the 'Markets and Mangroves' (MAM) project. In alliance with shrimp importers, traders, and over 5,000 farmers, MAM provides training on breeding and marketing ecologically-certified shrimp, supports replanting and management of the mangrove forest and mobilizes access for shrimp farmers to certified carbon markets and carbon financing through the UN Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation scheme (REDD+) (SNV 2012). 2
Relationship to CSA
Through the MAM project, the sustainable production of shrimps is increased through reduced disease incidence, and profitability is increased through reduced management costs, organic certification through Naturland (Seafood Watch 2013) 3 and future access to carbon markets. Short-term risk management is enhanced through increased protection against tidal waves and storm surges by replanting mangroves that also mitigate climate change through increased carbon sequestration.
Impacts and lessons learned
In 2013, the net income from integrated mangrove-shrimp farming had increased 1.5 times in comparison to traditional shrimp aquaculture or rice-shrimp without mangroves. Such profitable links with market forces provides a strong incentive for shrimp farmers to adopt sustainable and climate-smart shrimp farming practices.
Boles E. 2014. Integrated Shrimp Aquaculture with Mangrove Protection in Cà Mau, Vietnam. Tempe, AZ: New Global Citizenhttp://newglobalcitizen.com/impact-and-innovation/snv-integrates-shrimp-aquaculture-mangrove-protection-ca-mau-vietnam#sthash.pTF4ZWPr.dpuf Mangrove forest is the natural habitat and breeding ground of shrimp—providing wild feedstock, organic waste for food and shade, and root structures for shelter. In response to the rising global demand for shrimp over the past three decades, over half of Vietnam’s natural mangrove forest has been cleared to accommodate shrimp aquaculture ponds. Due to rapid expansion and insufficient environmental standards, the deltas of Cà Mau are now pockmarked with failed shrimp ponds, abandoned because of high costs and decreasing returns due to erosion, pollution, and shrimp disease. SNV Netherlands Development Organization and co-implementer IUCN have taken up this challenge with the Mangroves and Markets (MAM) project to integrate ecologically sound shrimp aquaculture with the mangrove environment of Cà Mau—reversing mangrove loss and reducing carbon emissions.
SNV. 2012. Mangroves and Markets: supporting mangrove protection in Ca Mau Province. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: SNV.http://www.snv.org/project/mangroves-and-markets Vietnam has lost half its mangroves over the past 30 years, primarily as a result of the expansion in area for rice production and more recently clearing for shrimp ponds. This has serious consequences: mangroves protect against tidal waves and storm surges; they are vital fish nursery-grounds, provide timber, honey, and other products; and raise land levels by trapping sediment. They also have a high carbon content; the total carbon storage is very high relative to most forest types. Healthy mangroves thus make important contributions to both climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Seafood Watch. 2013. Naturland Standards for Organic Aquaculture: Shrimp. Monterey, CA: Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.https://www.seafoodwatch.org/-/m/sfw/pdf/eco-certifications/reports/mba-seafoodwatch-naturland-farmed-shrimp-benchmarking_report.pdf?la=en The benchmarking equivalence assessment was undertaken on the basis of a positive application of a realistic worst-case scenario. • “Positive” – Seafood Watch wants to be able to defer to equivalent certification schemes • “Realistic” – we are not actively pursuing the theoretical worst case score. It has to represent reality and realistic aquaculture production. • “Worst-case scenario” – we need to know that the worst-performing farm capable of being certified to any one standard is equivalent to a minimum of a Seafood Watch “Good alternative” or “Yellow” ranking. The final result of the equivalence assessment for Naturland Standards for Organic Aquaculture, assessed for shrimp is a yellow ”Good Alternative” recommendation. Seafood Watch does not consider all certified farms to be at that level, but the standards could allow a farm equivalent to a yellow Seafood Watch recommendation to be certified. This means Seafood Watch can defer to Naturland Shrimp certification as an assurance that certified products meet at least a yellow “Good Alternative” recommendation.