Farmed shrimp, which is a major import product into North American and European markets, is typically produced in tropical countries. The bulk of farmed shrimp is produced in Asia. Key issues in shrimp production include the need to manage disease risk, public water quality, and other shared natural resources, including marine feed ingredient sourcing, and ensure continued opportunities for small-scale producers. There are other issues in feed supply chains and post-harvest processing, but they are not the focus of this grouping.

SFP is working with major importers to tackle issues and engage governments and whole producing sectors in the improvements needed to ensure that sustainable aquaculture products are available at scale. Members use various tools, including initiating and tracking aquaculture improvement projects (AIPs) to encourage zonal management. The current geographic focus of the SR is in major producing regions of Indonesia and Thailand, but members continue to explore how best to address improvements in other major producing countries, including China, India, and Vietnam. 

Aquaculture Improvement Projects

An Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP) is a multi-stakeholder effort to address sustainability issues in an aquaculture industry or production area. AIPs take a systemic approach to aquaculture, and aim to address sustainability at multiple levels, including individual farm practices, zonal (regional) resource use, and adequate policy frameworks at the national and provincial scale. The primary aim of an AIP is to reduce the cumulative and combined impacts of aquaculture practices that can arise from poor water usage practices, over-density of farms, incorrect (inappropriate) zoning/siting, unsustainable feed management, and insufficient coordination of disease treatment. Specifically, an AIP should aim to achieve the following:

  • National and regional regulatory frameworks based on zonal aquaculture management
  • Organized producers using and enforcing best management practices by all
  • Resource management systems adequate to protect habitat and water quality
  • Robust monitoring and reporting to demonstrate effective mitigation of shared disease risk
  • Transparency in marine ingredients used in feed, and ensuring that those ingredients are sourced from responsible fisheries or those actively engaged in improvements.

An AIP should have the following attributes:

●  Participation: An AIP should draw upon market forces and include supply chain actors and producer organizations. If producer organizations do not exist, their formation should be an initial goal of the AIP. All participants should publicly commit to supporting the AIP (including financially).

●  Needs assessment: The AIP should produce and publish a needs assessment, identifying the scope of the AIP and the main environmental challenges. While FIPs refer to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard to guide fishery assessment, no similar standard currently exists for aquaculture. SFP therefore recommends that the assessment follows the SFP Framework for Sustainably Managed Aquaculture.

●  Workplan: The AIP should develop and publish a plan containing time-bound objectives for addressing key issues identified in the needs assessment.

●  Progress reporting: The AIP should publicly report progress on activities and outcomes against the workplan, at least every six months. Regular public reporting increases the credibility of AIPs throughout the supply chain and provides buyers with evidence of genuine progress.

Within Target 75, shrimp are broken into two sectors: large shrimp and small shrimp. The large- shrimp sector includes shrimp larger than 100 shrimp per pound (100-count class size). This distinction in size class recognizes the different market share held by the two commodity types. The large-shrimp sector consists primarily of farmed shrimp and wild warmwater shrimp, but also includes larger coldwater shrimp. 

The following focuses only on the farmed-shrimp portion of the large-shrimp sector, which accounts for approximately two-thirds of the large-shrimp sector (SFP, 2017; 2018). 

The most recent T75 sector update report for Farmed Shrimp was released in December 2018 and details the state of the sector. According to the report’s findings, in 2017, 448,000 tonnes of large farmed shrimp were classified as improving (i.e., certified to international standards or in an Aquaculture Improvement Project, or AIP), which accounts for 8.82 percent of total farmed shrimp production (SFP, 2018). However, an analysis of certified production and FishSource aquaculture profiles and scores for farmed shrimp show that there are significant sustainability concerns across all major farmed-shrimp production regions. The shrimp sector is at high risk of supply chain disruption in all countries, due to exceeding carrying capacity and the associated disease, environmental, and reputational risk this creates. Therefore, there is a critical need for improvement in management practices across the entire sector, as little has been done to date. 

The primary target regions for improvement are those with predominantly export-focused industries that are selling into engaged markets. This includes Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Together, these production regions account for 2.1 million tonnes, representing almost 42 percent of global production (SFP, 2018). 

Urgent Supply Chain Engagement Required

Target 75 can only be achieved by expanding improvement efforts to shrimp production in China, which produces 2.2 million tonnes of large farmed shrimp and accounts for almost 45 percent of the sector (SFP, 2018). As such, the SR seeks to engage buyers from China.

Production areas and/or AIPs covered

Several broad efforts are underway to improve the environmental and social aspects of shrimp production and trade, including the Seafood Task Force, Sustainable Shrimp Partnership, and Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative. 

Please find an overview of all T75 relevant fisheries, including those currently not prioritized by the SRhere

SFP and partners are delivering projects in Thailand and Indonesia (see here) that will be identifiable as AIPs once the basic requirements of participation, publication, and planning have been met. 

The SR welcomes additional participation of market-based buyers of farmed shrimp, especially those sourcing from China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. 

Current Supply Chain Roundtable participants include:

Beaver Street Fisheries Inc.

Lyons Seafoods

High Liner

Rubicon Resources

Seafresh Group


Thai Union Manufacturing Co, Ltd.

The Fishin’ Company

Current improvement efforts:

  • Thailand – Surat Thani and Chumpon provinces: Seafresh is supporting improvements around health management with local shrimp clubs and cooperatives. At the national level, all members are engaging the government on coordinated disease management.
  • Indonesia – Banyuwangi, East Java: Sunnyvale and Thai Union are supporting government and industry efforts to address good practice on farms, as well as effective planning and management of environmental and disease risks at the landscape level. At the national level, all members are supporting the development of good aquaculture planning guidelines (see here) and delivery of carrying-capacity tools that are being developed by Longline Environment, with input from fisheries and environment ministries.
  • Seafood Task Force: An industry-driven multi-stakeholder alliance, the Seafood Task Force works to address environmental and social issues in Thailand’s seafood supply chain. Membership includes numerous SFP partners and SR participants.

Objectives of the SR:

  • Engage governments and national industries to reduce disease risks and environmental impacts of the shrimp industry.
  • Initiate multi-stakeholder aquaculture improvement projects (AIPs) in support of national-level engagement.
  • Improve traceability of final products and transparency of inputs, particularly on the sources of fishmeal.

SR-level improvement recommendations: 

  • Encourage suppliers to formally participate in the Asian Farmed Shrimp SR, to engage national governments to adopt full zonal aquaculture sector management.
  • Ask suppliers for transparency on the provinces they are sourcing shrimp from (so that FishSource assessments can be developed for relevant provinces).
  • Encourage regulators to adopt zonal approaches to aquaculture management at the national and regional levels.
  • Start pre-competitive AIPs in provinces that are significant sourcing locations. 

Project contact

If you would like more information about the Supply Chain Roundtable or wish to support it, please contact SFP.

Asian Farmed Shrimp Update – July to September 2019

This briefing provides an update on progress, activities, and news in the areas of interest to the SR. It also indicates any actions and further support needed. A full summary of past progress can be found here

1.     Improvements in Target 75 Priority Shrimp-Farming Regions

An overview of improvement areas is identified in the 2018 T75 Farmed Shrimp Sector Strategy Report, including those currently not necessarily prioritized by the SR. The prioritized SR improvement areas are national-level engagement in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. 

SFP has launched an aquaculture improvement project (AIP) toolkit to support greater adoption of AIPs. The AIP toolkit is adapted from the established guidelines for fishery improvement projects (FIPs) created by the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions and is based on SFP’s Framework for Sustainably Managed Aquaculture

To view and download the introduction and the toolkit, visit our Aquaculture Improvement Projects page.


Update: Support for government and industry engagement has been secured from IDH – the Sustainable Trade Initiative, SeaPact, and Walmart Foundation. Shrimp Health Resources Improvement Project (SHRImp Project) is underway, with the active participation of the Department of Fisheries, Pollution Control Department, Inve, Fish Vet Group, Seafresh, Thai Union, Chumpon Quality Shrimp Farmers Club, Tha Thong Plain Shrimp Farmers Cooperative, and, since Q3, Rayong Quality Shrimp Farmers Club. 

Further Support Needed: Engage your Thailand supply chain in improvements and refer them to SFP. 


Update: Support for government and industry engagement has been secured from the Walmart Foundation and Walton Family Foundation. The Shrimp Improvement Program (SIP) is underway in partnership with Conservation International, IDH – the Sustainable Trade Initiative, and Longline Environment, in collaboration with Shrimp Club of Indonesia, local government departments including Bupati, the processor association (AP5I) and various members, Sunnyvale, and Thai Union. 

A project exploring efficiencies and synergies between SFP, Aquaculture Stewardship Council, and Seafood Watch improvement approaches has been funded by ISEAL and will start stakeholder engagement in Indonesia in late 2019.

Further Support Needed: Engage your Indonesia supply chain in improvements and refer them to SFP. 

2. Support to established AIPs and improvement efforts 

Thailand: Delivery to farmer groups in Surat Thani and Chumpon continues, with the recent addition of Rayong. More than 100 farmers are now accessing disease diagnostic services and starting to use data management tools. Local and national DOF offices continue to support the project. The Pollution Control Department is reviewing water quality management tools that are being developed. 

Indonesia: Stakeholder planning meetings were held in Banyuwangi in May and August to progress the workplan. Shrimp Club of Indonesia members are interested in the project to support their ambitions to be sustainability leaders in the Indonesian shrimp sector. Local government offices are interested in becoming involved in the project to support tourism and sustainability objectives and to help address concerns about shrimp farming.

Further Support Needed: Engage your regional supply chain in the projects in Thailand and Indonesia. 

3. Support for mitigation of overarching AIP sustainability issues

Relevant news:

Thailand project: Farmers are bringing samples to central clinics, while two technicians also go out to farms to test shrimp in-situ. The cPCR tool that is used for analysis is hand-held and can be set up in any room with some ability for local sterilization. Shrimp samples are prepared within 30 minutes, and results can be obtained in a little over an hour. To validate test results in this pilot phase, the technicians have also had training from the Department of Fisheries on how to detect EHP (Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei – a disease currently affecting some farms in Asia) spores using a microscope. This is providing our partner, Fish Vet Group, and farmers with more tools to explain why shrimp are sick and target advice and action to reduce the impact and future likelihood of problems.

Indonesia: Four key working areas have been agreed – improving farm and industry performance through development of standard operating procedures and training; improving local governance through use of better planning tools; addressing environmental concerns to meet market and government demands; and implementing mechanisms to attract investment and insurance. The project, which was launched in Boston as SI3P (Shrimp Industry Improvement, and Investment Program), was simplified to SIP (Shrimp Improvement Project) to make it clearer to understand and because “sip” means “good” in Bahasa Indonesia.

Further Support Needed: Learn more of the detail of the tools and work with SFP to highlight the value to the producer industry and regulators of engagement in overarching/zonal improvements. 

4. Expansion of the SR 

Target 75 can only be achieved by expanding improvement efforts to shrimp production in China, which produces 2.2 million tonnes of large farmed shrimp and accounts for almost 45 percent of the sector (SFP, 2018). As such, the SR seeks to engage buyers from China, but also seeks further support for the projects in Thailand and Indonesia, and to re-activate efforts in India and Vietnam. 

Update: Fishin' Co, Lyons Seafoods, and Sunnyvale have been part of the SR since Q2 and regularly attended the monthly meeting calls in Q3.

A third in-person meeting of the SR is tentatively scheduled around the Seafood Task Force meeting in Bangkok in November.

Further Support Needed: Agree on new members. Consider mechanisms of funding. Attend regular calls and meetings, and suggest locations and agenda items.