Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 301–321

Can Export-Oriented Aquaculture in Developing Countries be Sustainable and Promote Sustainable Development? The Shrimp Case



Industrial shrimp farming has been promoted by international development and financial institutions in coastal indebted poor countries as a way to obtain foreign exchange earnings, reimburse external debt, and promote development. The promotion of the shrimp industry is a clear example of a more general trend of support of export-oriented primary products, consisting in monocultures of commodities, as opposed to the promotion of more diverse, traditional production directed to feed the local population. In general, it is assumed that export-oriented aquaculture and agriculture, in a framework of liberalization policies, facilitates economic growth and this is associated with poverty reduction and the improvement of food security. However, it has been shown that the promotion of export-oriented production, mostly in the hands of big corporations, can have detrimental consequences for the livelihoods of local populations and the environment. As a result, international institutions, NGOs, and the industry aim to minimize these impacts by promoting sustainable export-oriented production. But some impacts may remain, since the main issue is the primary focus on international deregulated markets and the search for cheap primary products. To illustrate the relationships between the mainstream concept of development, the environmental and social impact of industrial farming systems, and the promotion of export-oriented production in developing countries, this article analyzes the case of the shrimp aquaculture industry.


International financial institutions Food security Food sovereignty Food trade Liberalization policies Sustainable aquaculture 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abila, R. O. (2003). Fish trade and food security: Are they reconcilable in Lake Victoria. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
  2. Adger, W. N., Kelly, P. M., Winkels, A., Huy, L. Q., & Locke, C. (2002). Migration, remittances, livelihood trajectories, and social resilience. Ambio, 31, 358–366.Google Scholar
  3. Aggarwal, R. (2006). Globalization, local ecosystems, and the rural poor. World Development, 34, 1405–1418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Armitage, D. (2002). Socio-institutional dynamics and the political ecology of mangrove forest conservation in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Global Environmental Change, 12, 203–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ayyappan, S. (2005). National aquaculture sector overview-India. Retrieved, 2007, from
  6. Bäckstrand G., & Ingelstam, L. (2006). Enough!: Global challenges and responsible lifestyles. Development Dialogue, 47, 97–147.Google Scholar
  7. Bailey, C. (1988). The political economy of fisheries development in the third world. Agriculture and Human Values, 5, 35–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Barbier, E. B., & Cox, M. (2002). Economic and demographic factors affecting mangrove loss in the coastal provinces of Thailand, 1979–1996. Ambio, 31, 351–357.Google Scholar
  9. Barbier, E. B., & Strand, I. (1998). Valuing mangrove-fishery linkages. A case study of Campeche, Mexico. Environmental & Resource Economics, 12, 151–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bardhan, P. (2006). Globalization and rural poverty. World Development, 34, 1393–1404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Barraclough, S., & Finger-Stich, A. (1996). Some ecological and social implications of commercial shrimp farming in Asia. UNRISD Discussion Paper, 74, UNRISD, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  12. Batie, S. S. (2008). Wicked problems and applied economics. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 90, 1176–1191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bergquist, D. A. (2008). Colonised coasts. Aquaculture and energy flows in the world system: Cases from Sri Lanka and the Philippines. PhD Thesis, Dissertation, Uppsala University.Google Scholar
  14. Binns, T., & Nel, E. (1999). Beyond the development impasse: The role of local economic development and community self-reliance in rural South Africa. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 37, 389–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Borton, J., & Shoham, S. (1991). Mapping vulnerability to food security: Tentative guidelines for WFP offices. UUNN: London.Google Scholar
  16. Bostick, K. (2008). NGO approaches to minimizing the impacts of aquaculture: A review. In M. Holmer, K. Black, C. M. Duarte, N. Marbà, & I. Karakassis (Eds.), Aquaculture in the ecosystem (pp. 227–250). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Brzeski, V., & Newkirk, G. (1997). Integrated coastal food production systems—A review of current literature. Ocean and Coastal Management, 34, 55–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Chong, K. (1990). Asian shrimp aquaculture at crossroads. Infofish International, 5, 40–47.Google Scholar
  19. CIA. (2007) The World Factbook 2007. Central Inteligence Agency. Office of Public Affairs.
  20. Cline, W. R. (2004). Trade policy and global poverty. Washington, DC: Center for Global Development and Institute for International Economics.Google Scholar
  21. Consortium Program. (2006). International principles for responsible shrimp farming. Bangkok: WB/NACA/WWF/UNEP/FAO.Google Scholar
  22. Consortium Program. (2002). Shrimp farming and the environment: A consortium program to analyze and share experiences on the better management of shrimp aquaculture in coastal areas. Bangkok: WB/NACA/WWF/FAO.Google Scholar
  23. Dasgupta, P. (2002). Is contemporary economic development sustainable? Ambio, 31, 269–272.Google Scholar
  24. EJF. (2003). Smash & crabs. Conflict, corruption & human rights abuses in the shrimp farming industry. London: Environmental Justice Foundation.Google Scholar
  25. FAO. (1996). Rome declaration on world food security and world food summit plan of action. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
  26. FAO. (1997). Review of the state of world aquaculture. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
  27. FAO. (2004a). Aquaculture production, capture production, commodities. Yearbooks of fishery statistics summary tables. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
  28. FAO. (2004b). Report of the expert consultation on international fish trade. Rio de Janeiro: FAO.Google Scholar
  29. FAO. (2006). State of world aquaculture. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
  30. FAO (2007). Ecuador National Aquaculture Sector Overview (NASO). Retrieved, from
  31. Ghosh, J. (2005). Trade liberalization in agriculture: An examination of impact and policy strategies with special reference to India. New York: United Nations Development Programme.Google Scholar
  32. Goss, J., Burch, D., & Rickson, R. E. (2000). Agri-food restructuring and third world transnationals: Thailand, the CP Group and the global shrimp industry. World Development, 28, 513–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gunawardena, M., & Rowan, J. S. (2005). Economic valuation of a mangrove ecosystem threatened by shrimp aquaculture in Sri Lanka. Environmental Management, 36, 535–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hoekman, B., & Kostecki, M. (2001). The political economy of the world trading system: The WTO and beyond. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hornborg, A. (2001). The power of the machine. Global inequalities of economy, technology and environment. USA: Altamira Press.Google Scholar
  36. IAASTD. (2008). Agriculture at a crossroads: The synthesis report. Washington, DC: International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development.Google Scholar
  37. Insull, D., & Orzeszko, J. (1991). A survey of external assistance to the fishery sectors of developing countries. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
  38. Kanji, N., & Barrientos, S. (2002). Trade liberalization, poverty and livelihoods: Understanding the linkages. Sussex, UK: Institute of Development Studies.Google Scholar
  39. Kathum, F. (2005). Impact of market access barriers and subsidies: The case of shrimp in Bangladesh Hong Kong trade and development symposium, Mexico.Google Scholar
  40. Krueger, A. O. (1998). Why trade liberalization is good for growth. Economics Journal, 108, 1513–1522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Larsson, J., Folke, C., & Kautsky, N. (1994). Ecological limitations and appropriation of ecosystem support by shrimp farming in Colombia. Environmental Management, 18, 663–676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lebel, L., Nguyen, H. T., Amnuay, S., Suparb, P., Urasa, B., & Le, K. T. (2002). Industrial transformation and shrimp aquaculture in Thailand and Vietnam: Pathways to ecological, social, and economic sustainability? Ambio, 31, 311–323.Google Scholar
  43. Lewis, R.R. III., Phillips, M.J., Clough, B., & Macintosh, D.J. (2003). Thematic review on coastal wetland habitats and shrimp aquaculture. Report prepared under the World Bank, NACA, WWF and FAO Consortium Program on Shrimp Farming and Environment. Work in Progress for Public Discussion. Published by the Consortium (pp. 81).Google Scholar
  44. Morisset, J. P. (1997). Unfair trade? Empirical evidence in world commodity markets over the past 25 years. Policy Research Working Paper Series 1815. WB, Washington DC: The World Bank, Foreign Investment Advisory Group.Google Scholar
  45. Nash, C. E. (1987). Future economic outlook for aquaculture and related assistance needs. Rome: UNDP, FAO.Google Scholar
  46. Naylor, R. L., Goldburg, R. J., Primavera, J. H., Kautsky, N., Beveridge, M. C. M., Clay, J., et al. (2000). Effect of aquaculture on world fish supplies. Nature, 405, 1017–1024.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Nustad, K. G. (2001). Development: The devil we know? Third World Quarterly, 22, 479–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Odum, H., & Odum, E. (2001). A prosperous way down: Principles and policies. USA: University Press of Colorado.Google Scholar
  49. Perrings, C. (2001). The economics of biodiversity loss and agricultural development in low income countries. In D. R. Lee & C. B. Barrett (Eds.), Tradeoffs or synergies? Agricultural intensification, economic development and the environment (pp. 57–72). Wallingford, UK: CAB International.Google Scholar
  50. Pradhan, D., & Flaherty, M. (2008). National initiatives, local effects: Trade liberalization, shrimp aquaculture, and coastal communities in Orissa, India. Society and Natural Resources, 21, 63–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Primavera, J. H. (1997). Socio-economic impacts of shrimp culture. Aquaculture Research, 28, 815–827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Reardon, T., & Shaikh, A. (1995). Links between environment and agriculture in Africa: Implications for economic growth and policy. Washington, DC: USAID/WRI.Google Scholar
  53. Rivera-Ferre, M. G. (2007). Propuestas de la FAO para impulsar la acuicultura: ¿Un modelo sostenible? Ecología Política, 32, 31–40.Google Scholar
  54. Rönnbäck, P. (2001). Mangroves and seafood production: The ecological economics of sustainability. Dissertation, University of Stockholm, Sweden.Google Scholar
  55. Rönnbäck, P., Troell, M., Zetterström, T., & Babu, D. E. (2003). Mangrove dependence and socio-economic concerns in shrimp hatcheries of Andhra Pradesh, India. Environmental Conservation, 30, 344–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sachs, W. (1992). The development dictionary: A guide to knowledge as power. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  57. Sathirathai, S., & Barbier, E. B. (2001). Valuing mangrove conservation in Southern Thailand. Contemporary Economic Policy, 19, 109–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sebastiani, M., Gonzalez, S. E., Castillo, M. M., Alvizu, P., Oliveira, M. A., Pi Rez, J., et al. (1994). Large-scale shrimp farming in coastal wetlands of Venezuela, South America: Causes and consequences of land-use conflicts. Environmental Management, 18, 647–661.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Sen, A. (1981). Poverty and famines: An essay on entitlement and deprivation. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  60. Sen, A. (1989). The concept of development. In H. B. Chenery & T. N. Srinivasan (Eds.), Handbook of development economics. Amsterdam: North Holland.Google Scholar
  61. Skladany, M., & Harris, C. K. (1995). On global pond: International development and commodity chains in the shrimp industry. In P. McMichael (Ed.), Food and agrarian orders in the world economy (pp. 169–191). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  62. Stonich, S., & Bailey, C. (2000). Resisting the blue revolution: Contending coalitions surrounding industrial shrimp farming. Human Organization, 59, 23–36.Google Scholar
  63. UNDP (2006) Human Development Indices 2006.
  64. USAID (2003). USAID-Shell Alliance Promotes Cassava and Health in the Niger Delta. Retrieved, 2007, from frontlines/Dec03_FrontLines.pdf.
  65. UUNN (2002). Economic and Social Council Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the Right to Food.Google Scholar
  66. UUNN (2004). Economic and Social Council. Report submitted by the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the Right to Food.Google Scholar
  67. Vannuccini, S. (2003). Overview of fish production, utilization, consumption and trade based on 2001. Retrieved, 2007, from easysitestatid=-2000347029.
  68. WRM (2002). Mangroves. Local livelihoods vs. corporate profits. In H. Fonseca (Ed.), World rainforest movement. Uruguay:Montevideo.Google Scholar
  69. Whitmarsh, D., & Palmieri, M. G. (2008). Aquaculture in the coastal zone: Pressures, interactions and externalities. In M. Holmer, K. Black, C. M. Duarte, N. Marbà, & I. Karakassis (Eds.), Aquaculture in the ecosystem (pp. 251–270). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Wilkie, M. L., & Fortuna, S. (2003). Status and trends in mangrove area extent worldwide. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
  71. Williams, M. J. (2002). Technology, knowledge systems, population dynamics, and coastal ecosystems. Ambio, 31, 337–339.Google Scholar
  72. Wimberley, D. W., & Bello, R. (1992). Effects of foreign investment, exports and economic growth on third world food consumption. Social Forces, 70, 895–921.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Winters, L. A. (2002). Trade policies for poverty alleviation. In B. Hoekman, A. Matoo, & P. English (Eds.), Development, trade, and the WTO: A handbook (pp. 28–38). Washington, DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  74. Worm, B., Barbier, E. B., Beaumont, N., Duffy, J. E., Folke, C., Halpern, B. S., et al. (2006). Impacts of biodiversity loss on ocean ecosystem services. Science, 314, 787–790.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Young, E. M. (2004). Globalization and food security: Novel questions in a novel context? Progress in Development Studies, 4, 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Animal and Food Sciences DepartmentEdifici V -Campus de la UABBellaterraSpain

Personalised recommendations