In Defence of Land and Livelihood

Author
Faris Ahmed
1997 Report cover
 

Excerpt:

“In a matter of 15 years, shrimp aquaculture has become a US$9 billion industry, active in over 50 countries. Most of the countries of Asia have witnessed an explosive growth of shrimp farming along their coasts, as it has emerged as the single most valuable marine species that can be raised using existing farming technology. Globally, farm-grown shrimp represents about a third of all shrimp production while the rest is caught at sea by commercial trawlers. The share of farmed shrimp
is expected to double in coming years. As recently as a decade ago, shrimp was a luxury item relished by western consumers. Today, fuelled by rising consumer demand and increased production, it has become a cheap, readily available product, finding its way on to the menu of even the corner restaurant…

In the late 1980s, widespread disease wiped out most of the farms in Taiwan, forcing the world’s leading exporter of shrimp to take a closer look at the long-term consequences of commercial aquaculture. The Government of Taiwan subsequently took measures to drastically curb shrimp aquaculture in the country.

In search of new frontiers, the industry looked towards other countries with long coastlines and the required infrastructure to carry out shrimp farming: Thailand, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam — the choice was not limited, as cash-strapped governments extended their cooperation, and business opportunities rose dramatically as entrepreneurs were lured by the tantalizing get-rich-quick prospects.”