Establishing a Sustainable Shrimp Mariculture Industry in Ecuador
Ecuador's shrimp mariculture industry is booming - it earns more than any other private sector activity in Ecuador. Nevertheless, concerns about declines in shrimp stocks and water quality and increasing international competition are challenging Ecuador to build a shrimp farming industry that is socially and environmentally sustainable at home, and that can compete successfully in a changing world marketplace. A 1986 workshop in Guayaquil brought together an interdisciplinary team of experts to provide recommendations for an integrated management strategy for the industry. Containing the workshop proceedings, this report covers five major topics - (1) the socioeconomic aspects of shrimp mariculture, (2) legal and institutional factors, (3) environmental issues (the largest section, covering, inter alia, red tides, mangrove and salt flat aeras, oceanographic characteristics, and the impacts of urban development and of a dam project on shrimp mariculture), (4) the offshore shrimp fishery, and (5) characteristics of the mariculture industry. Key recommendations are to: maintain water quality in estuaries and near hatcheries; protect and manage the wild shrimp stocks that provide the most abundant and cheapest sources of seed shrimp to the industry; overhaul and simplify the permit system governing the siting and operation of ponds and hatcheries; assess the impacts of the Fisheries Law on the shrimp industry; and initiate a public education program to build support for environmental protection measures.