Working towards future-proof shrimp

  • Most tropical shrimp are 'red rated' on the seafood guide
  • What is the future-proof shrimp?
  • How to built a responsible supply chain for shrimp?

Tropical shrimp are extremely popular. The prawn on your plate can be a white-legged (P. vannamei) or giant tiger prawn (P. monodon). Unfortunately, lots goes wrong with shrimp farming.

Market initiatives are being set up to transition regular practices towards sustainable types of farming. The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has started their shrimp dialogues in 2013 that resulted in the first shrimp standard. This standard sets strict requirements for water quality, feed ingredients, use of medicines and other additives. It also takes care of social responsibility by setting standards on the working conditions for employees at farms and processing facilities. However, the standards and costs to get certified are high, which make it difficult for small-scale farmers to comply and to find a market for their product in Europe. The biggest European retail and suppliers demand ASC certification or a comparable ecolabel to minimize environmental and social impact.

Tropical shrimp without an ecolabel are ‘red rated’ on the Dutch seafood guide (VISwijzer). This is mainly caused by feed use and intensive farming practices, where disease outbreaks are frequent. Extensively bred (a lower number of shrimp per pond) tiger shrimps (P. monodon) that are not being fed, receive a green rating on the seafood guide.

Good Fish has set up the project together with the sustainable fish brand Fish Tales and the Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative (ASIC). ASIC is an improvement program for small-scale farmers who cultivate giant tiger shrimp in an extensive manner in Indonesia. Within the ASIC program farmers receive education on social and environmental indicators and improve their performances.

Project Goals

Fish Tales and Good Fish are researching the possibilities of bringing a responsibly farmed shrimp from small-scale shrimp farmers in Indonesia onto the Dutch market. There are currently 1500 Indonesian small-scale shrimp farmers in the ASIC program. These shrimps are not additionally fed and are farmed with extensive farming practices. Therefore, these shrimps are a sustainable product. We investigate in this project whether there are any social or environmental concerns for buyers and how to set up a supply chain for these shrimp to the Dutch market.

The project consists of two phases, with phase A consisting of making an extensive analysis of what exactly a future-proof shrimp is. How does it score on the social and environmental requirements that Fish Tales and other Dutch parties set for shrimp? How can the traceability of shrimp from Indonesia be guaranteed? The future-proof shrimp offers good working circumstances and a fair living wage for shrimp farmers. By setting up a solid supply chain in phase B of the project, this offers shrimp farmers financial security through stable contracts.

Project partners

In 2013, ASIC (Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative) was established to help small-scale farmers tackle social and environmental sustainability challenges. ASIC has set up standards and protocols to support farmers to complete the ASIC program and become an ASIC leader.

Fish Tales, known for their tuna cans, sets strict sustainability and quality requirements for the products they sell. With their Fish Tales Foundation they focus on improvement projects in the field of sustainable fisheries and consumer awareness. Fish Tales is interested in setting up a product line with responsible tropical shrimp in the future.

Good Fish works with the market to increase demand for sustainable fish. We do this by advising supermarkets, fish suppliers and wholesalers. We use our seafood guide (VISwijzer) to advice about sustainable seafood.

This project is supported by FVO.