During the course of the last few decades, shrimp farming has consistently damaged large stretches of tropical coasts, especially mangroves. Roots of mangroves have been pulled out by bulldozers to make way for shrimp farms. The coast equivalent of tropical forest, mangroves are home to an incredible and diverse array of species. They are breeding grounds and home to the young of several species of fish, molluscs, crustaceans and other wild species. Shrimp farming creates a cocktail of sterile toxic shrimps.
Once mangroves have been uprooted, the coast becomes unstable, leading to erosion, causing damage to coral reefs and water plant communities and destroying animal habitats across the food chain, ranging from individual molluscs to the most inoffensive sea-cow.
Precise figures on the extent of the damage inflicted by shrimp farming on mangroves and other coastal wetlands, are not yet available, but estimates are shocking, with up to 38% of mangroves lost at the expense of shrimp farming.
As wetlands disappear, fish catches decrease and the balance of the eco-system is disturbed. Shrimp farms are often abandoned after between just 3 and 5 years, destroying what were previously fertile coastal eco-systems. The owners then move on to destroy new areas. The wiping out of mangroves is not the only ecological damage. In order to produce as many shrimps as possible and maintain productive populations, large quantities of artificial food and chemical supplements, including chlorine, are added to this destructive cocktail. Malathion, parathion, paraquat and other lethal pesticides are also sprayed on the pools.
Apart from chemical products, several types of antibiotics are used in large doses to prevent shrimps from developing diseases. The consequent lethal mix is usually dumped on nearby ground or in local waterways, where it harms local populations and other living organisms. Shrimp farming is the source of immeasurable problems, extending beyond environmental damage and often decimating the coastal ecology upon which local communities depend.