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Organic Shrimp

Between 2000 and 2015 total aquaculture production of shrimp increased 329% from 1,137,048 to 4,875,793 metric tons. During this time frame, demand for organically farmed food has gone mainstream and demand for organically raised shrimp is no exception. The German organic certification scheme Naturland has been especially influential in the development of the global organic shrimp sector. In 2002, the first shrimp farms were certified organic by Naturland in Vietnam and Ecuador. Since then organic shrimp production has expanded to include countries such as Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalem, China, Costa Rica, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Madagascar and Peru among others. While the certified organic aquaculture market is still a niche, organic shrimp production was estimated at 16,317 metric tons or 4% of total organic aquaculture production and growing in 2013.[1]

Primarily there are two types of shrimp which are certified organic: the Giant Tiger Prawn (Penaeus monodon) and Whiteleg Shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). Organic standards such as Naturland are strict and address feed composition, animal welfare, social and environmental issues in a more prescriptive manner than conventional aquaculture certification. Such strict standards drive up the costs of production, thus certified organic shrimp products are more expensive. Today, organic certification has expanded to include among others a pan European Union scheme, Krav (Swedish), Bio Suisse (Swiss) and SOIL Association (UK).

Omarsa, a shrimp aquaculture facility in Ecuador has both GLOBALG.A.P. and organic certified farm sites (Naturland and EU). Omarsa has been producing farmed Whiteleg Shrimp since 1977 and currently devotes 914.20 hectares to organic production making it the largest organic shrimp farm in the world. To learn more about Omarsa and its operations follow this link: Omarsa farm profile

Minh Phu Seafood Corporation founded in 1992 in Vietnam also has both conventional farms which are GLOBALG.A.P. certified and a group of small-scale farmers which are Naturland certified. In this case, Minh Phu raises both Whiteleg Shrimp (GLOBALG.A.P. certified) and Giant Tiger Prawn (Naturland certified). To learn more about Minh Phu farming operations click on this link: Minh Phu farm profile


[1] SSI Blue Economy p. 50