SHRIMP FARMING IN VIETNAM: CURRENT SITUATION, ENVIRONMENTAL-
ECONOMIC-SOCIAL IMPACTS AND THE NEED FOR SUSTAINABLE SHRIMP
M Eng. Nguyen Dang Anh Thi
Presentation at 7th Asia Pacific Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and
Production, Hanoi, Vietnam on 25 – 27 April, 2007
BIO SUISSE Association of Swiss Organic Farming Organization
CAMIMEX Ca Mau Fisheries Import-Export Company
CREB Centre for Resources, Environment and Biotechnology
FAO Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
MOFI Ministry of Fisheries
SIPPO Swiss Import Promotion Programme
VASEP Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers
The development of shrimp aquaculture in Vietnam has been impressive during the last
decade. In 2005, about 722,000 hectares were used for shrimp farming that brought
about 310,000 tonnes with more than 1.372 billion USD export turn over (compared to
163,000 tonnes in 2001) or an increase by 90% in 4 years. It is clear that shrimp
production has been taking a key role in the Vietnamese economy. Depending on
natural ecological and socio-economic conditions of each province, different shrimp
farming systems have developed. Overall, four popular shrimp farming systems have
been developed: extensive, improved extensive, semi-intensive, and intensive.
Over the last years, shrimp aquaculture in Vietnam has started to shift from extensive to
more intensive systems, in line with government policies. According to MOFI, shrimp
farming systems in Vietnam in 2003 comprised 3% semi-intensive and intensive, 22%
improved extensive and 75% extensive culture. Recently, in parallel with the shrimp
aquaculture development, severe adverse environmental, economic and social impacts
have been reported in Vietnam.
Can shrimp aquaculture in Vietnam be developed in a sustainable way? The article
presents the current situation as well as the adverse environmental, economic and
social impacts of shrimp aquaculture in Vietnam to figure out the need of sustainable
shrimp farming to meet the Millennium Development Goal on Sustainable Development
in Vietnam. Three success stories of sustainable shrimp farming are also introduced in
the article as possible models for dissemination.
I. THE STATUS OF SHRIMP FARMING IN VIETNAM
Referring to FAO Statistics 2004, Vietnam has been listed as the 3rd shrimp producing
country in the world, with 11% of world production, behind Thailand (16%) and China
(38%). In 2005, 722,000 ha were used for shrimp farming, resulting in a production of
310,000 MT. The development of coastal shrimp aquaculture in Vietnam has been
impressive during the past 10 years. Shrimp takes the largest proportion of seafood
commodities exported from Vietnam and is of great importance to the Vietnamese
economy. The shrimp production development in 2001 - 2005 is showed in Figure 1.
The shrimp industry in Vietnam
started with shrimp seed from the
wild in the 1980s. An increase in
production area and level of
intensification has led to a high
demand for seed (post larvae).
Many shrimp hatcheries have also
been developed, most of them
located in the central provinces.
The central region produces
around 70% of the total shrimp
seed used in the Vietnamese Source: Nguyen Huu Dung, VASEP 
shrimp production. 20-25% is Figure 1: The development of the shrimp production
located and produced in the in Vietnam
Mekong River Delta and a limited
seed production is taking place in
the Northern provinces .
The most popular shrimp species in Vietnam is P. monodon (Black tiger shrimp). In
2004, P. monodon made up 80% of the farmed shrimp production, while the newly
introduced species P. vanamei (White shrimp) represented approximately 20%. The
white shrimp is currently not produced in the South as it is only permitted to be cultured
experimentally in the North and the Central regions, from Quang Ninh province to Binh
Thuan province and only under control of the Vietnamese government.
Significant production is from the south of Vietnam but there is also a considerable
production from central and north Vietnam  (Figures 2 & 3).
Figure 2: Shrimp species distribution Figure 3: Shrimp production distribution
in Vietnam in Vietnam
Source: Nguyen Huu Dung, VASEP  Source: VASEP 
The Mekong Delta is considered as the most important region to the development of
aquaculture in Viet Nam, especially shrimp culture. Shrimp cultured area of Mekong
River Delta region were 535,145 ha, occupying 88.5% of total shrimp production area of
the whole country, of which, Ca Mau province has the largest shrimp cultured area with
236,255 ha in 2005 .
Depending on natural ecological and socio-economic conditions of each province,
different shrimp farming systems have developed by province. Overall, four popular
shrimp farming systems have been developed in the Vietnamese coastal areas. They
are: extensive, improved extensive, semi-intensive, and intensive systems. Sandy land
shrimp farming is popular in the central provinces while rotation rice-shrimp farming is
specific in the Mekong Delta.
Over the last years, shrimp aquaculture in Vietnam has started to shift from extensive to
more intensive systems. According to MOFI , shrimp farming systems in Vietnam in
2003 comprised 3% semi-intensive and intensive, 22% improved extensive and 75%
extensive culture. Of the total production (MT) the intensive culture produced around
10% and extensive culture produce 60% of total shrimp production. The productivity of
improved extensive, semi-intensive and intensive shrimp farming were 0.25-0.30
MT/ha/crop, 2.5-3 MT/ha/crop and 5-7 MT/ha/crop, respectively .
Export value of Vietnamese frozen shrimp has been increasing in recent years and is
getting significant importance for Vietnam economy (Figure 4). Referring to the Socio-
Economic Development Plan 2006 - 2010, apart from crude oil, aquatic products overall
are the 3rd VN export item (2,401 Million USD in 2004) after garment (4,386 Million
USD) and footwear (2,692 Million USD). In 2004, Vietnamese frozen shrimp has been
exported to nearly 70 markets, in which Japan, USA, EU are the biggest ones (Figure
Most export shrimp is originated from cultured shrimp which has big and equal sizes.
Figure 4: Export value Figure 5: Market distribution
of Vietnamese frozen shrimp of Vietnamese frozen shrimp
Source: Nguyen Huu Dung, VASEP 
In parallel with the shrimp aquaculture development, severe adverse environmental,
economic and social impacts have been reported recently in Vietnam.
II. ADVERSE ENVIRONMENTAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL IMPACTS OF SHRIMP
AQUACULTURE IN VIETNAM
II.1. The adverse environmental impacts
The rapid development of shrimp aquaculture has had a very serious impact on
Vietnam’s mangrove forests. According to FAO (2003), the mangrove forest area in
Vietnam in 1980 was 227,000 ha; in 1990, it was 165,000 ha and in 2000, 104,000 ha.
This means that over 54% of mangrove forest area has been lost in 20 years. It is also
estimated that 75,000 ha of mangrove forest have disappeared from 1975 to 1990
because of fuel exploitation and rural and aquaculture development in Mekong Delta
. In the Central provinces, the sandy land based shrimp farming is the main cause of
the destruction of the coastal protective forests . The consequences of the
deforestation have been reported to be biodiversity reduction, coastal erosion, salt
intrusion. Deforestation also seriously threatens the sustainable development of shrimp
II.1.2. Exhaustion of ground water resources
Shrimp farming needs huge amounts of water. A 2002 estimation by Ms. Nguyen Thi
Phuong Lan, a senior expert of MOFI, showed that between 16,380 m3 and 27,300 m3
fresh water are needed per ha per season to mix with sea water in the sandy land
based farming . In the Central provinces, most of the fresh water is coming from
ground water. As ground water reserves are limited in the region, their overexploitation
may quickly lead to difficulties in water supply for domestic and rural activities.
II.1.3. Environmental pollution
Beside the mangrove forest degradation, some environmental pollution phenomena
have been recognized with the appearance of diseases and the reduction of
productivity. Many shrimp farms release effluent directly into the natural environment,
and the water exchange necessary in more intensive shrimp aquaculture means that
chemical inputs (disinfectants, antibiotics, fertilizers, pesticides, hormones) and waste
(uneaten food, faeces, ammonia, phosphorous and carbon dioxide) may reach and
contaminate groundwater supplies, rivers and coastal habitats. Shrimp pond effluents
containing high levels of organic matter have a high biological oxygen demand (BOD),
and can cause oxygen depletion in receiving waters. Concerns surrounding pollutants
include: persistence in aquatic environments; the possibility of residues in non-cultured
organisms and seafood; toxicity to non-target species; possible effects on sediment bio-
geochemistry; problems associated with nutrient enrichment; and possible effects on
the health of farm workers . There are growing concerns that the chemicals used in
shrimp production may promote antibiotic resistance among microorganisms, some of
which are harmful to humans or their interests. Other chemicals used in aquaculture are
known or suspected to induce cancer, mutations or developmental abnormalities. Wild
species, as well as humans living in the vicinity of shrimp farms, may be exposed to
dangerous levels of these chemicals.
In addition, the risk of disease which has potential damage to the farmers is also a
pressing issue of the shrimp farming. Most of the diseases are caused by environmental
pollution. Base on MOFI, shrimp disease in 1994-1995 impacted 84,858 ha and caused
losses amounting to 20 Million US Dollar. Together with underdeveloped technologies
and the lack of best practices, shrimp diseases are one of the main concerns in shrimp
farming in Vietnam.
II.1.4. Salt intrusion
In Central provinces, the exhaustion of ground water resources promotes salt intrusion,
which is the main cause for the death of coastal protective forests. In the Mekong Delta,
the rotation rice-shrimp farming has led to salt intrusion to the rice areas, and reduced
rice productivity. The conflicts in using fresh water between rice farming or other rural
activities and shrimp farming thus represent a potential risk for the social and economic
development of the affected regions.
A report by Tuoi Tre Newspaper on July 20, 2005 showed that in 3 districts of Ca Mau
Province, the rice cultivated area is 10,000 ha but only 200 ha were remained and
harvested with a productivity lower than 1 ton/ha.
II.2. The adverse economic and social impacts
According to MOFI, about 4 Million people are living on tide and lagoon areas in
Vietnam. Shrimp farming development has brought many economic and social benefits
such as job creation, income increases and infrastructures improvement. However, the
development of shrimp aquaculture in Vietnam is transforming from extensive towards
more intensified farms, which means the poor people gradually lose their chances in
shrimp farming because of high investment needed for high intensified farms. If it is not
managed well, the farmers can lose their seasons. A 2001 estimation by Institute of
Fisheries Economics and Planning showed that it is about 20% of farmers are lost event
when the harvest is abundant .
Many farmers need loans from banks in order to start their business, and when they
lose their seasons, they risk losing their land and their properties at the same time.
Newspapers such as Thanh Nien, Tuoi Tre, Lao Dong, Sai Gon Giai Phong or Nong
Thon Ngay Nay regularly report about bankruptcies of shrimp farmers in Vietnam. In
Phu Yen Province, nearly 200 households of Hoa Hiep Nam Commune lost a total of
250,000 USD due to 4 consecutive poor harvests, many households went bankrupt;
farmers in Hoa Tam Commune had irrecoverable debts of 437,500 USD; farmers in Ban
Thach estuary had irrecoverable debts amounting to 7.5 Million USD . In Ca Mau
Province, 76,609 households are in debt to the Agriculture and Rural Development
Bank for a total of 84.8 Million USD. In Bac Lieu province, the debt was 75 Million USD.
In Duyen Hai District, Tra Vinh province, all households were in debts for a total of 31.2
Million USD. All of the debts were due to shrimp farming .
In addition, conflicts have been recorded in recent years between shrimp farming and
other rural activities using water and land resources as well as infrastructures. In Ca
Mau province, thousands of people in Dam Doi district had demolished Thay Ky, Tam
Bo salt prevention dams to take brackish water from Ganh Hao river for shrimp farming
. In Soc Trang province, conflicts broke out between shrimp farmers and rice
farmers for the use of irrigation systems and shrimp farmers had set obstacles to close
salt prevention canals . In Kien Giang province, the Hung-Thanh-Hoa irrigation
systems invested for rice farming but the people there had used for shrimp farming .
Others records from NGOs such as Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF, 2003)
show that increasing numbers of people have no land for agriculture. Therefore, many
adverse economic and social impacts from shrimp farming such as properties lost,
unemployment and resources usage conflicts have to be considered when developing
III. THE NEED FOR SUSTAINABLE SHRIMP FARMING IN VIETNAM
The fisheries sector, in which shrimp farming is dominant, has been playing a key role in
economic development and poverty alleviation in Vietnam. The comprehensive strategy
on development and poverty alleviation in 2002 showed that: “high and stable economic
growths are the main factors affected to reduce poverty percentages; in which:
agriculture, aquaculture and economic farms played an exceptional important role”. The
Socio-Economic Development Plan 2006 - 2010 also highlight agricultural development:
“Improve the farmers’ living standards. Completely eliminate hungry households and
substantially reduce poor households by 2010... Synchronously develop fishery
products, including all stages of exploitation, aquaculture, processing and export...
Ensure fast and sustainable growth of fishery...”
The objectives of the Vietnamese Government in aquaculture is: “aquaculture
development is to guarantee food security, produce material for exporting, create jobs,
increase incomes and living standards, contribute to the social – economic development
of the country”. To reach these objectives, many legal documents have been issued:
− The Vietnam Law on Fisheries issued by the National Assembly on 26/11/2003
stipulates that the fisheries development should be sustainable (Article 5: Sustainable
fisheries development): “The State shall issue policies to ensure the sustainable
fisheries development... The State shall develop clean and healthy aquaculture...
The State shall develop fisheries economy on the basis of the development master plan
of fisheries sector in accordance with overall socio-economic development master plans
nationwide and of specific provinces...”.
− Decision 224/1998/Qð-TTg dated 08/12/1999, issued by the Prime Minister
approved the Aquaculture Development Program from 1999 – 2010 (Program 224):
“Development of aquaculture should follow a sustainable orientation, associated with
natural resources and environmental protection, guarantee stable production and
− Resolution 09/2000/NQ-CP dated 15/06/2000 from the Goverment: “households and
other economic components were allowed to transfer from salty fields, low lying fields,
salt production lands and wetlands which have low productivities to aquaculture”. The
shrimp farming development “exploded” after this Resolution was issued.
− Decision 657/2001/Qð-BTS dated 22/08/2001, issued by the Minister of Fisheries,
approved the Sustainable Aquaculture for Poverty Alleviation Strategy (SAPA Strategy):
“Through aquaculture development to improve incomes and living standards of poor
and unstable people. Development and receiving environmentally-friendly
aquaculture technologies with low risk and investment”.
− Decision 10/2006/QD-TTg dated 11/01/2006 of the Prime Minister approving the
Master Plan for Fisheries Development to 2010 and orientations towards 2020: “To
develop the fisheries sector in a fast and sustainable manner... and combining
production with product processing, sale and eco-environmental protection”.
− Decision No. 06/2006/QD-BTS dated 10/04/2006, issued by the Minister of Fisheries
promulgating the Regulation on management of safe regions and establishments for
shrimp farming “to meet the sustainable development of shrimp farming”.
In general, the macroscopic policies of the Government always consider the harmony of
economic development, social development and environmental protection to maintain
high and sustainable economic grows. However, the deployments of these policies have
been inadequate and difficult in each practical case. In addition, the adverse
environmental-economic-social impacts of shrimp farming in Vietnam have increased
alarmingly meaning that we had to pay for the explosion shrimp development.
Therefore, devising how to develop the shrimp farming in Vietnam in a sustainable way
is not only a requirement but also a mission in the upcoming years.
IV. THREE SUCCESS STORIES
The development and dissemination of success stories in shrimp farming is an urgent
requirement in Vietnam. With the participation in some projects and references to other
available researches related to shrimp farming, this article author suggests 3 success
cases which might be appropriate to disseminate as models of sustainable shrimp
IV.1. Sandy land intensive shrimp farming: ð c Th ng shrimp farm
IV.1.1. General information and production approach
The ð c Th ng shrimp farm owned by Mr Nguyen Van Sy was established in 2003, in
the Cua Phu Hamlet, Bao Ninh Commune, Dong Hoi City, Quang Binh Province. It is a
typical example of sandy land shrimp farming in the Central provinces.
The 28.7 hectares farm produces black tiger shrimp from sandy land based intensive
farming. 18 hectares (62.7%) are used for aquaculture ponds. The productivity during
the 1st season reached about 6 – 7 tonnes/ha, while it didn’t exceed 4 tonnes/ha in the
The investment capital of the farm is 1,300,000 USD, of which 1,222,875 USD for land;
69,750 USD for equipments and 7,375 USD for other costs.
Post larvae are produced by the farm and used with a density of 25 - 40 PLs/m2. Feeds,
chemicals and admixtures are bought from renowned suppliers.
Water supply for the farm is fresh water (from ground wells) mixed with sea water to
guarantee salinity within 5 – 30‰ (brackish water). Maximum 50 m3/h fresh water and
150 m3/h sea water are needed to supply for the farm.
The production flow of the farm is described in Figure 6.
Sedimentation and Disinfection pond
Post larvae production
Bio-treatment ponds (fish
aquaculture, biological products)
Pump Water recycling
Source: CREB 
Figure 6: Production flow of ð c Th ng shrimp farm
Water is pumped from wells and the sea, mixed together in the pre-treatment pond, and
then pumped to the sedimentation and disinfection pond where it is treated with chlorine
and iodine to kill wild shrimps, fishes and other organic matter which might cause
diseases. After sedimentation, treated water is pumped into the shrimp ponds
(aquaculture ponds). Initial water requirement for the 1st season was 12.000 m3/ha,
while exchange water requirement for a season is 8.000 m3/ha (3 times/month with 10-
15% water volume). The wastewater from exchanging and after harvesting is treated in
the sedimentation ponds, then in the bio-treatment ponds where fishes is cultured to tidy
up excess feeds. After being filtered by sand layers, water is pumped into the
stabilization ponds and then recycled to the pre-treatment pond for reusing. With this
cycle, water supply from outside is reduced from 360,000 m3 to 144,000 m3 (equivalent
to 60%), an important figure in reducing costs and environmental impacts.
Water in the shrimp ponds is aerated to ensure oxygen supply and reduce domestic
pollution, as well as to prevent the degradation of organic matters. Wind energy is used
for aeration instead of diesel fuel.
Sludge from the farm is disinfected and mixed with lime and then applied to land.
IV.1.2. Economic efficiency
Land is depreciated in 10 years and equipments are depreciated in 5 years. Capital was
borrowed from the bank with an interest rate of 1.1%/month or 14.03%/year and will be
refunded in 5 years. Fuel consumption is reduced thanks to using wind energy for
aeration. Benefits and costs calculation of the farm is shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Benefits and costs calculation of Duc Thang shrimp farm
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Harvest (ton) 180 180 180 180 180 180 180
Price (USD/kg) 4.6 4.6 4.6 4.6 4.6 4.6 4.6
Revenue (USD) 828,000 828,000 828,000 828,000 828,000 828,000 828,000
Cost of goods sold
Larvae 87,500 87,500 87,500 87,500 87,500 87,500 87,500
Feed 20,000 20,000 20,000 20,000 20,000 20,000 20,000
Fuel (aeration, pumping) 3,750 3,750 3,750 3,750 3,750 3,750 3,750
Chemicals & Admixtures 11,875 11,875 11,875 11,875 11,875 11,875 11,875
Labor 75,000 75,000 75,000 75,000 75,000 75,000 75,000
Cost of goods sold 198,125 198,125 198,125 198,125 198,125 198,125 198,125
Gross profit 629,875 629,875 629,875 629,875 629,875 629,875 629,875
Bank interest 182,390 145,912 109,434 72,956 36,478 0 0
Land depreciation 122,288 122,288 122,288 122,288 122,288 122,288 122,288
Equipment depreciation 13,950 13,950 13,950 13,950 13,950 0 0
Total Expenses 318,628 282,150 245,672 209,194 172,716 122,288 122,288
Net profit (USD) 311,248 347,726 384,204 420,682 457,160 507,588 507,588
Different from many conventional shrimp farms, Duc Thang farm recycles its treated
wastewater. This measure brings them nearly 50,000 USD/year saving because of
reducing costs in pumping and treating raw water from outside.
With this current business situation, Duc Thang shrimp farm will pay its investment back
within 4 years. After the loan is refunded, the farm will have 507,588 USD/year net
IV.1.3. Social efficiency
The social efficiency of Duc Thang farm can be summarized as follows:
− The farm has created 50 jobs with average 125 USD/month, double times higher
than local average salary, and other related jobs that contribute to the poverty
− The farm has contributed to the improvement of infrastructures of neighbor areas.
− The farm has been a symbol of success shrimp farms in central provinces, where the
shrimp productivity is unstable.
IV.1.4. Environmental efficiency
In addition to the benefits in terms of cost savings, the use of wind energy instead of
diesel for aeration contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions. With the recycling of
wastewater, 60% of raw water is reduced, equivalent to 216,000 m3/year is saved in
comparison with conventional farms which don’t recycle treated wastewater. That
means the farm has reduced the environmental impacts and minimized the natural
resources usage. The farm is also very effective in defending diseases which cause the
loss of seasons and environmental pollution.
The environmental conditions had been asssessed by the CREB in 2005: ambient air,
surface water, wastewater and soil quality met the requirements of the Vietnamese
IV.2. Community-based improved extensive shrimp farming: Vinh Hung
IV.2.1. General information and production approach
The Vinh Hung Commune is located beside Cau Hai lagoon, Phu Loc District, Thua
Thien Hue Province. It is famous for community-based shrimp farming as 1,000
households out of the total 1,600 households of the commune are engaged in shrimp
aquaculture. The Village Convention on shrimp aquaculture agreed by all households
and approved by the Commune People Committee is the valued legal document of the
shrimp aquaculture community.
The farm assessed in the commune is owned by Mr. Tran Dinh Quang with 8,000
square meters area. The investment capital of Mr. Quang’s farm is 1,250 USD, a low
investment as he is using improved extensive farming. It is cultured in 1 season per
year with a productivity of about 1.4 tonnes/ha.
Post larvae are used with a density of 3 - 4 PLs/m2. Feeds, chemicals and admixtures
are bought from renowned suppliers.
Brackish water is pumped from Cau Hai lagoon by the public water system constructed
by the commune. The maximum water requirement for the farm is about 8,500 m3/year,
in which 5,000 m3 are maintained in the ponds and 3,500 m3 are used for exchanging.
The production flow of Mr. Quang’s shrimp farm is described in Figure 7.
station Clean water canal
pond, 1000 m
Shrimp pond 1
Cau Hai Lagoon
Shrimp pond 2
pond, 1000 m
Public wastewater canal
Source: CREB 
Figure 7: Production flow of Mr. Quang’s shrimp farm
As agreed in the Village Convention, all production activities of each farm should follow
the guides from the self-governing team of the community. Therefore, the schedules for
culturing, harvesting, water intake and wastewater discharge are always obeyed. Post
larvae, chemicals, admixtures are all checked before using.
Brackish water taken from public canal is treated and stabilized in the pre-treatment
pond after being pumped to shrimp ponds in the Quang’ farm. Wastewater from
exchanging and harvesting goes through a bio-treatment in a fish pond. The treated
water is discharged to the public canal leading to Cau Hai Lagoon. In case of shrimp
diseases or death, the self-governing team will be informed to have timely solutions.
Sludge from the ponds are treated at the public landfill site.
IV.2.2. Economic efficiency
Capitals for production in Quang’s farm were self-finances. Land is also owned by Mr.
Quang himself, so no depreciation is needed in his farm. Benefits and costs calculation
of the farm is shown in Table 2.
Table 2: Benefits and costs calculation of Quang’s shrimp farm
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Harvest (kg) 700 700 700 700 700 700 700
Price (USD/kg) 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Revenue (VND) 3,500 3,500 3,500 3,500 3,500 3,500 3,500
Cost of goods sold
Larvae 250 250 250 250 250 250 250
Feed 625 625 625 625 625 625 625
Chemicals & Admixtures 313 313 313 313 313 313 313
Labor 438 438 438 438 438 438 438
Cost of goods sold 1,625 1,625 1,625 1,625 1,625 1,625 1,625
Gross profit 1,875 1,875 1,875 1,875 1,875 1,875 1,875
It is understood that the gross profit of 1,875 USD/year is also the net profit because no
tax requirement is imposed on this small farm. Only 4 months a year are needed for the
household to get a net profit 1,875 USD. This is quite an attractive business in such a
poor area in Phu Loc District. But this is only possible thanks to the community-based
organisation in the commune.
IV.2.3. Social efficiency
It is obvious that community-based shrimp farming needs high awareness of the
householders to enhance social efficiency. Quang’s farm, together with other farms in
the community, has high income from this business model and they are happy to
develop their community. People in the community are solidary as they are aware of the
common achievements, which in turn ensure the social sustainability of the community.
This commune is also a specific model in poverty alleviation.
IV.2.4. Environmental efficiency
This is not only a community-based shrimp farming model but also a community-based
environmental management model. Through self-management, the community has
been very successful in preventing diseases and environmental pollution, and in
maintaining high productivity. As all the wastewater is treated before being discharged,
the water quality in the area is maintained clean for sustainable production.
IV.3. Organic shrimp farming: Mekong Delta
IV.3.1. General information and production approach
Vietnam is the first country in the world to produce organic black tiger shrimp, thus
allowing the consumer to enjoy this product without any fear concerning food safety or
environmental plundering. In the framework of a Cooperation programme between
Vietnam and Switzerland, the MOFI, VASEP and SIPPO have financed and carried out
an innovative project of organic farming of Black Tiger Shrimps and white shrimps in the
Province of Ca Mau from 2000. In total, 1,022 farms belonging to the Forestry-fisheries
Enterprise 184, a state owned enterprise, have joined the project with 4,000 hectares.
The production of the enterprise has been organically certified by Naturland in
December 2001. To obtain the organic label each farm must replant 70% of the total
farm area with mangrove trees and follow the organic rules for farming. The “ECO
Shrimp” is processed and packed according to the wishes of the buyers by CAMIMEX
. Currently, a Swiss supermarket chain named Coop Volketswil has contracted to
purchase this organic shrimp through CAMIMEX and the price of the shrimp at the farm
gate is 20% higher than conventional shrimp. The Enterprise 184 and CAMIMEX also
received recognition as high-quality products from the BIO SUISSE in 2004 when the
Swiss chain imported nearly 2 Million USD worth .
In November 2005, Ca Mau province launched a campaign to encourage organic
shrimp farming. Areas for organic farming enlarged to 40,000 ha in Ca Mau province
only and new farms established in other provinces . Ca Mau had 236,255 ha of
shrimp farming area in 2005, of which an estimated 110,000-190,000 ha could be
converted to organic shrimp ponds.
The organic farming emphasizes the protection of the mangrove forests, which a
programme implemented by the Vietnamese government aims at restoring and
preserving. Strict guidelines have been established to assure the preservation of the
mangrove forest and environment as well as the quality of farmed shrimp and the
distribution of earnings to farmers. Larvae density for organic shrimp farming is very low
with maximum 2 PLs/m2, some case only 1 PL in several m2. No feed is required in this
model. It is understood that the organic shrimp farming means natural shrimp farming,
in which shrimps uses feeds originated from the mangrove floristic composition, algae,
IV.3.2. Economic efficiency
The organic shrimp pattern needs low investment and operation costs although it needs
stringent management. Its productivity is higher than traditional extensive farming but
nearly no risk happened. That means the production is guaranteed sustainability that
ensures the stable incomes for farmers. As mentioned above, the price of the organic
shrimp at the farm gate is 20% higher than conventional shrimp.
IV.3.3. Social efficiency
The success of organic shrimp farming has opened up a new approach for Vietnamese
aquaculture sector. Nearly 500,000 ha of extensive shrimp farming areas have
evaluated to be appropriated for organic shrimp farming. This success is not only a
positive symbol in Vietnam but also in the world, when food security is so important in
the globalization. Consumer awareness about food production is growing, and as a
result, the organic food sector is showing strong growth in many developed country
markets. The image of the Vietnamese shrimp sector in the world-eyes has been
improved after the first ECO shrimp exported to Swiss.
IV.3.4. Environmental efficiency
Organic shrimp farming protects the health of consumers by reducing the overall
exposure to toxic chemicals since it does not use artificial feeds, chemicals and other
admixtures. Organic shrimp farming also consists of a community-based environmental
management system, for which mangrove forests protection is a priority. The
environmental quality and biodiversity has been improved gradually after each season
of culturing, as it is also a requirement to maintain the production sustainability.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Shrimp production has been taking a key role in the Vietnamese economy, contributing
1.372 billion USD in export turn over in 2005. 722,000 hectares of areas were used for
shrimp farming in 2005, with many different farming systems. In parallel with issuing
many policies to foster shrimp production, the Vietnamese Government has
promulgated policies to guarantee the sustainable development of shrimp aquaculture.
However, the practical implementation of these policies has been inadequate, leading to
the recent apparition of many serious environmental, economic and social impacts.
Shrimp aquaculture has led to deforestation, exhaustion of ground water resources, salt
intrusion and environment pollution. Shrimp aquaculture also led to bankruptcies and
loss of land and properties among farmers, as well as to conflicts between shrimp
farming and other rural activities using the same water and land resources as well as
The shrimp production is expected to be a livelihood for poverty alleviation in Vietnam.
That means shrimp aquaculture should be developed in a sustainable way to create
stable employment, ensure high incomes and improve living standards for farmers.
Therefore, the development and dissemination of success models in shrimp farming is
an urgent requirement in Vietnam. Because many different shrimp farming systems
have been developed depending on natural ecological and socio-economic conditions,
the applications of appropriate systems to the specific regions are very important.
The article has introduced 3 success cases that are considered to be sustainable. The
Duc Thang shrimp farming pattern is suitable for intensive aquacultures while the Vinh
Hung community-based shrimp farming and organic shrimp farming patterns are
suitable for extensive aquacultures, in which integrated mangrove-shrimp farming or
rotation rice-shrimp farming have high potential.
It is time to have a comprehensive evaluation of shrimp farming development in
Vietnam, which should be focused on the environmental, economic and social impacts
to know clearly what has been achieved and what has been lost by shrimp farming.
That evaluation will be the foundation for policy making in Vietnam. To guarantee the
sustainable development of shrimp production, the policies must be more practical, the
awareness must be raised, the success patterns must be broadly disseminated and the
infrastructures must be improved. The research, development and dissemination of
suitable farming systems are an urgent task of the state management agencies, the
institutes, the universities and other related organizations. Furthermore, the participation
of local and international NGOs as well as the financial and technical support from
international organizations are extremely important in the upcoming times.
1. CREB, 2005. Research on scientific and practical foundation for proposal of policies,
measures on environmental protection and sustainable development of economic farming
in Vietnam. Centre for Resources, Environment and Biotechnology, Hue University.
2. EJF, 2003. Risky business: Vietnamese shrimp aquaculture – Impacts & improvements.
Environmental Justice Foundation, London, UK.
3. GESAMP. 1997. Towards Safe and Effective Use of Chemicals in Coastal Aquaculture.
Reports and Studies, GESAMP. No 65. Rome, FAO 1997.
4. Huynh Tien Dung, SUMA project and Nguyen Chu Hoi, Institute of Fisheries Economics
and Planning. Sandy land based shrimp farming, an activity needs to be cautions. May 7,
5. Government, 2006. Decision 10/2006/QD-TTg dated 11/01/2006 of the Prime Minister
approving the Master Plan for Fisheries Development to 2010 and orientations towards
6. Institute of Fisheries Management, Research Institute for Aquaculture 1, Network of
Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific, Can Tho University and World Wide Fund for Nature.
Guidelines for Environmental Management of Aquaculture Investments in Vietnam. June,
7. Manh Quan (translated by Thanh Hang), Thanh nien News, 2006. Swiss supermarket
chain prefers Vietnamese shrimp. January 25, 2006.
8. Minh Luan - H. Van, Tuoi Tre Newspaper. Soc Trang: Conflict between shrimp and rice
again. March 21, 2005.
9. Ministry of Planning and Investment, March 2006. The Five-Year Socio-Economic
Development Plan 2006 – 2010.
10. MOFI, 2001. The Decision 657/2001/Qð-BTS dated 22/08/2001 issued by Ministry of
Fisheries approved the Sustainable Aquaculture for Poverty Alleviation Strategy.
11. MOFI, 2004. Progress report on aquaculture development in 2003 and solution for
implementation of aquaculture development program in 2004.
12. MOFI, 2005. Progress report on aquaculture development in 2004 and solution for
implementation of aquaculture development program in 2005.
13. MOFI, 2006. Decision No. 06/2006/QD-BTS dated 10/04/2006, issued by the Minister of
Fisheries promulgating the Regulation on management of safe regions and establishments
for shrimp farming.
14. Nguyen Thi Ky, Can Tho Newspaper, 2004. Mekong Delta, an uncertain shrimp season.
March 17, 2004.
15. Nong Thon Ngay Nay Newspaper, 2005. Phu Yen: Lost in shrimp farming, a commune
has 11 billion VND irrecoverable debt. May 31, 2005.
16. Nguyen Huu Dzung, VASEP, 2006. Vietnam Aquaculture, Shrimp and Pangasius Farming.
Presentation at AquaVision, Stavanger, Norway. 25-27 Sep 2006.
17. Nguyen Thi Phuong Lan, Department of Science and Technology, MoFI, 2003. Status of
on-sand tiger shrimp culture in the central provinces and sustainable management of the
18. Phan Nguyen Hong & Hoang Thi San, 1993. Mangroves of Vietnam. IUCN. Bangkok,
19. Tran Minh Truong, Sai Gon Giai Phong Newspaper, 2005. Economics transforming in
Mekong Delta, the shrimp sector in unstable condition. July 28, 2005.
20. Tran Van Nhuong, Bui Thi Thu Ha, Research Institute for Aquaculture 1. The shrimp
sustainable development issues. Updated January 3, 2006.
21. Tobias Viere, Stefan Schaltegger and Nguyen Dang Anh Thi, CSM/InWent, EMA-SEA
Project, 2005. Chau Thanh Tam Shrimp Farm – Environmental Management Accounting
for a small business in the Mekong River Delta Shrimp Industry, Vietnam.
22. Vietnam News Agency, 2005. Ca Mau: Irresponsible planning, billions VND of farmers
have been lost. http://www.moi.gov.vn/News/detail.asp?Sub=71&id=13870.
23. Vietnam National Assembly, 2003. The Vietnam Law on Fisheries issued by National
24. Vietnam Goverment, 1998. Decision 224/1998/Qð-TTg dated 08/12/1999 issued by Prime
Minister approved Aquaculture Development Program from 1999 – 2010 (Program 224):
25. Vietnam Goverment, 2000. Resolution 09/2000/NQ-CP dated 15/06/2000 from the
26. VASEP, CASEP, SIPPO, 2002. Presentation of the ECO Shrimp from Vietnam. European
Seafood Exposition ESE 2002, Brussels, Belgium. April 23 – April 25.