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Scenarios for Resilient Shrimp Aquaculture in Tropical Coastal Areas

Simon R. Bush, Wageningen University
Paul A.M. van Zwieten, Wageningen University
Leontine Visser, Wageningen University
Han van Dijk, Wageningen University
Roel Bosma, Wageningen University
Willem F. de Boer, Wageningen University
Marc Verdegem, Wageningen University

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We contend there are currently two competing scenarios for the sustainable development of shrimp aquaculture in coastal areas of Southeast Asia. First, a landscape approach, where farming techniques for small-scale producers are integrated into intertidal areas in a way that the ecological functions of mangroves are maintained and shrimp farming diseases are controlled. Second, a closed system approach, where problems of disease and effluent are eliminated in closed recirculation ponds behind the intertidal zone controlled by industrial-scale producers. We use these scenarios as two ends of a spectrum of possible interactions at a range of scales between the ecological, social, and political dynamics that underlie the threat to the resilience of mangrove forested coastal ecosystems. We discuss how the analytical concepts of resilience, uncertainty, risk, and the organizing heuristic of scale can assist us to understand decision making over shrimp production, and in doing so, explore their use in the empirical research areas of coastal ecology, shrimp health management and epidemiology, livelihoods, and governance in response to the two scenarios. Our conclusion focuses on a series of questions that map out a new interdisciplinary research agenda for sustainable shrimp aquaculture in coastal areas.

Key words

coastal fisheries; governance; livelihood decision making; mangrove; shrimp-aquaculture; social-ecological systems; South-East Asia; trans-disciplinary research; WSSV disease
Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087