Whiteleg Shrimp

(Litopenaeus vannamei)

White shrimp, Whiteleg shrimp, white leg shrimp, Indian shrimp, vannamei

A number of prawn farms in Vietnam have been certified by Aquaculture Stewardship Council as ecologically sustainable. A detailed list of certified farms is available on the ASC website.

1. What is it?

Whiteleg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) are abundant, bottom-dwelling crustaceans found in sandy, muddy or reefs associated areas. They are commercially important species and are farmed in countries around Asia. A number of these farms obtained “Best Aquaculture Practices” (BAP) certification. BAP is a certification programme with a 4-tier ranking system and each level (referred to as a star) covers more aspects of the aquaculture supply chain. Whiteleg shrimp have a BAP certification of either 4 - entire supply chain (Orange listed) or 2 - focuses just on the farm and processing factory (Red listed).

2. How was it caught or farmed?

BAP 4

Whiteleg shrimp are farmed in semi-closed ponds, cages and fenced off areas. Juveniles come from hatcheries and feed is an additional input. For BAP 4 farms, in India and Thailand feed is traceable and at least 50% of feed comes from sustainable sources. Waste discharge is high and likely to impact the environment negatively. Escapements and disease outbreaks are also a frequent occurrence.

BAP 2

Whiteleg shrimp are farmed in semi-closed ponds, cages and fenced off areas. Juveniles come from hatcheries and feed is an additional input. For BAP 2 farms, in India and Thailand, feed is not traceable and majority comes from unsustainable sources. Waste discharge is high and likely to impact the environment negatively. Escapements and disease outbreaks are also a frequent occurrence.

Thailand -
  • Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS)

    White leg shrimp are farmed in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). For RAS systems in Thailand, juveniles come from hatcheries and feed is an additional input. Feed is not traceable. Waste discharge is low and risk of salinization is high. Damage to highly sensitive habitats such as mangroves is likely. Risk of escapement is high and will negatively impact the environment. Disease outbreaks have been frequent can seriously impact production and trade.

  • Ponds – intensive

    White leg shrimp are farmed in ponds. For intensive systems in Thailand, juveniles come from hatcheries and feed is an additional input. Feed is not traceable. Waste discharge is moderate and salinization is high which is likely to impact the environment negatively. Damage to highly sensitive habitats has been high; in the form of habitat loss. New farms are now built next to mangroves which help filter water effluent. Risk of escapement is high and will negatively impact the environment. Disease outbreaks have been frequent can seriously impact production and trade.

Vietnam -
  • Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS)

    White leg shrimp are farmed in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). For RAS systems in Vietnam, juveniles come from hatcheries and feed is an additional input. Feed is traceable. Waste discharge is low and risk of salinization is moderate. Damage to highly sensitive habitats is unlikely despite some alterations taking place during construction of the ponds. Risk of escapement is high and will negatively impact the environment. Disease outbreaks have been frequent can seriously impact production and trade.

  • Ponds – intensive

    White leg shrimp are farmed in ponds. For intensive systems in Vietnam, juveniles come from hatcheries and feed is an additional input. Feed is traceable. Waste discharge and salinization is high which is likely to impact the environment negatively. Damage to highly sensitive habitats has been high; in the form of habitat loss. Work is underway to restore previously damaged mangrove systems and new farms are located more inland. Risk of escapement is high and will negatively impact the environment. Disease outbreaks have been frequent can seriously impact production and trade.

3. Where is it from?

BAP 4 & BAP 2

White shrimp pond farms are located in India and Thailand and the prawns are imported into South Africa. Management for BAP 4 and BAP 2 farms is considered to be partly effective due to concerns surrounding management of environmental impacts such as the high levels of waste discharge and disease outbreaks Lack of traceability measures was also highlighted as a point of concern for BAP 2 farms.

Thailand

Whiteleg shrimp are farmed widely in Asia. The majority of prawns consumed in South Africa are imported and come from farms around the world. Management throughout Thailand, for non-GAP certified farms, using intensive pond production is considered to be partly effective with concerns remaining around transparency and compliance. Management for RAS farms is considered to be marginally effective with the main concern being poor enforcement and negative environmental impact from disease outbreaks and escapements. There have been widespread reports of labour rights violations on Thailand shrimp farms. There have been no instances of land use conflicts.

Vietnam

Whiteleg shrimp are farmed widely in Asia with Vietnam being of the top shrimp producers. The majority of prawns consumed in South Africa are imported and come from farms around the world. Management throughout Vietnam for intensive pond production and RAS is considered to be marginally effective with the main concern being poor enforcement, transparency and negative environmental impact from disease outbreaks and escapements. There have been no reports of labour rights violations in recent years. However Vietnam is not a signatory to all labour rights conventions so forced labour remains a possibility. Land use conflict remains a possibility for intensive systems to due to negative impact of the farms on freshwater systems

The following region and fishing methods are listed as Orange on WWF-SASSI list;
  • India -> BAP 4 Ponds - Intensive
  • Thailand -> BAP 4 Ponds - Intensive
The following region and fishing methods are listed as Red on WWF-SASSI list;
  • India -> BAP 2 Ponds - Intensive
  • Thailand -> BAP 2 Ponds - Intensive
  • Thailand -> Recirculating aquaculture systems
  • Vietnam -> Recirculating aquaculture systems