What are our findings after having spoken to more than two dozen stakeholders
in the Indian shrimp farming industry?
Approximately 350 billion shrimps are farmed each year, with this number set to increase with the intensification of global aquaculture production due to the 'blue revolution'.
Little concern has been given to shrimp welfare, with many of these animals often suffering from poor water quality, rampant disease, inhumane slaughter methods, and practices such as eyestalk ablation (crushing or cutting off at least one of the eyestalks of female shrimps to induce rapid reproduction).
This report discusses the welfare of shrimps, why we chose India as a scoping country and our findings after having undertaken water quality measurements on shrimp farms and discussions with several stakeholders in the shrimp supply chain.
We wish to make clear that this data represents 20 farms, in one state in India (Andhra Pradesh) and during a specific period of time (13-21 Dec 2021). Additionally, most of the farms visited had earthen ponds. It is not intended to be representative of all shrimp farms in India.
Our main findings are:
Water Quality metrics were better than we expected overall, with the exception of pH and Ammonia - this seems to be due to technicians (primarily from feed companies) testing the water on a regular basis and providing feedback to farmers.
Stocking Densities were lower than expected, averaging 25 shrimps per m2. This seemed due to farmers experiencing higher disease and mortality rates at higher densities. We are still unsure whether such ranges are optimal for shrimp welfare.
The supply chain is complex and highly fragmented which prevents farmers from capturing any real economic benefits from being certified.
Slaughter seems to differ significantly from the theoretical best practice of stunning them by submersion in a saltwater ice slurry immediately after harvest
The biggest problems for farmers were high disease (and mortality) rates, "poor quality seedlings", and high costs of inputs.
When asked, almost all farmers (95%) stated that shrimps can suffer, expressing genuine concern for their shrimps.
Farmers' knowledge comes from experience, and they are willing to work with an NGO to learn and improve the welfare of their shrimps.
Measurements and some interviews were undertaken by staff of FIAPO (Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations) to whom we are very grateful.
Please click the link below to access the full India Scoping Report