Annual world shrimp production is approximately 8.4 million metric tons, and 60 percent of this production enters world markets. Both wild and farmed shrimp production can generate negative environmental impacts and face significant challenges. Wild shrimp fishing can have substantial ecological effects through bycatch of non-target species, while shrimp farming can involve significant changes in land use and pollution of water bodies. Other areas of concern for shrimp farming include the sustainability of marine ingredients in farmed shrimp feed and the vulnerability of shrimp farms to disease. 

While it makes sense in biological terms to consider all kinds of shrimp together, in terms of production and markets, and improvement needs and approach, it actually makes more sense to divide shrimp harvests between large shrimp (95 percent of total global shrimp production volume) and small shrimp. Thus, for the purposes of Target 75, we consider shrimp in two different sectors: large and small.

Retailers are increasingly concerned about the need for greater sustainability in all shrimp production and are requiring certification or evidence of continuous improvement from producers. In order to meet this need, SFP has created Supply Chain Roundtables (SRs) to convene importers, exporters, and processors to press for improvements in shrimp fishing and aquaculture. There are currently three shrimp-related SRs, all of which operate in the large shrimp Target 75 sector. These include the Asian Farmed Shrimp SR, and two others that target wild shrimp fisheries: the Gulf of Mexico Shrimp SR and the Mexican Shrimp SR.

The Asian Farmed Shrimp SR currently focuses on catalyzing aquaculture improvement projects (AIPs), while the two wild shrimp SRs are mainly focused on fishery improvement projects (FIPs) that address bycatch and other ecological impacts of fishing, as well as wider management and policy improvements at the fishery or national level.

Sub-sectors Covered

Wild and farmed large shrimp

Wild small shrimp

Supply Chain Roundtables:

Asian Farmed Shrimp SR 

Gulf of Mexico Shrimp SR 

Mexican Shrimp SR 

Sector Definition

The Large Shrimp sector consists of farmed shrimp (64 percent of total global production volume) and wild warmwater shrimp. It also includes larger coldwater shrimp such as Argentine red shrimp and spot prawns. Species are typically larger than 100 shrimp per pound in body size.


Based on 2014 production data, 530,400 tonnes, or 6.7 percent of the global production, are considered sustainable or improving, using publicly available information on MSC status, FIP progress ratings, farm-level certification data (ASC, BAP, and GlobalG.A.P.), and AIPs reviewed in August 2019.

Existing supply chain leverage and interest may be able to add 11 percent of global production into improvement efforts in 2020.

Please find an overview of production considered in our T75 strategy for the sector here. The key to reaching T75 is engaging the shrimp farming industry in Asia, namely China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, in policy and management improvements that will lead to impacts beyond an individual farm. A smaller contribution can be made by improving management/policy and addressing bycatch issues in wild large shrimp fisheries in Mexico. The industry can accomplish this through demand from some markets already engaged in sustainability, engaging the markets where those products end up, as well as creating demand for sustainable products from new markets.

The Asian farmed shrimp roundtable works to

  • 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.

Concerns related to wild large shrimp fisheries are addressed in the US Gulf of Mexico Shrimp SR and in the Mexican Seafood SR, which are setting precedents for best practices for sustainability in such fisheries.

Sustainability concerns in this sector:

Key issues in farmed shrimp production include the need to manage disease risk, protect public water quality and other shared natural resources including marine feed ingredient sourcing. More effective producer organizations are also needed to help the industry engage effectively with government and ensure continued opportunities for small-scale producers. 

Shrimp trawling collectively accounts for more bycatch volume and has a higher proportion of bycatch (compared to harvest volumes) than any other fishery type, although individual shrimp trawl fisheries have taken proactive management measures resulting in low bycatch rates and volumes. Various environmental impacts have been associated with bycatch, including depletion of protected, endangered, and threatened (PET) species; depletion of other bycatch species; and ecosystem impacts such as trophic cascades. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is believed to be an issue in the artisanal Mexican shrimp fisheries, including fishing by unlicensed vessels and use of unapproved gear configurations. 


The Food and Agriculture organization (FAO) reports total global production of roughly 8 million tonnes (2014 data). Top production countries are China, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Thailand and Ecuador.

Major markets are the EU, United States and Japan. Besides trade between countries inside the EU (25%), Ecuador, India, Argentina and Vietnam are also relevant exporters of shrimp to the EU. Exports by India, Indonesia, and Ecuador represent more than half of US imports of large shrimp.

Almost two thirds of the traded large shrimp end up in markets with high sustainability demand (either US or EU, Australia or Canada).

Related Resources

Farmed Shrimp Strategy Report 

SFP Report on the Wild Shrimp Sector: Bycatch in Global Shrimp Fisheries

Sector Definition

The small shrimp sector consists of wild, predominantly coldwater, shrimp, often referred to as “salad shrimp,” that are smaller than 100 shrimp per pound in body size. This sector also includes small warmwater shrimp such as seabobs, as their market usage is more similar to coldwater shrimp. Paste shrimp are not currently included in the small shrimp sector. 


Based on 2014 production data, 355,500 tonnes, or 77 percent of global production, are considered sustainable or improving, using publicly available information on MSC status and FIP progress ratings reviewed in August 2019.

Please find an overview of production considered in our T75 strategy for the sector here.

This sector is already doing extremely well, reaching the 75-percent target in part through the engagement of large buyers from the US and EU, but also because production and markets are found in countries with high sustainability demand. We recommend building on this success by engaging supply that is not yet improving into MSC certification or improvement activities (e.g., the seabob fishery in Brazil, titi shrimp from Ecuador).

Since industry has done so well by itself, there has been no need for SFP to assist in organizing and pushing for improvements, e.g., via Supply Chain Roundtables (SRs). 


The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports total global production of roughly 462,300 tonnes of small shrimp (2014 data). The majority of this production comes from Canada, the EU, Greenland, and the United States.

Major markets include the EU, United States, and Japan. The majority of the traded small shrimp end up in markets with high sustainability demand (US, EU, Canada).