Author Archives: Sara Lavenhar

Don’t Stop Pushing for Higher Standards

Don’t Stop Pushing for Higher Standards

By Fiona McGregor

A recent article in TakePart asked whether shrimp can really be sustainable, but the perspective was largely from that of the consumer, the western, and the developed. What about the people whose livelihoods are lost because of shrimp farming? What about the impact on the environment? What about overconsumption?
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Sri Lanka’s Government Declares Protection for its Mangrove Lagoons

Sri Lanka’s Government Declares Protection for its Mangrove Lagoons

By Naoto  Miyacchi

Mangrove Forest Function

Mangrove forests have attracted considerable interest recently with the variety of potential benefits, such as carbon sequestration and providing food, fuel and fiber to local communities. Mangroves, which thrive in the mixture of sea and freshwater along coastlines, help maintain sea levels and hold back storm surges, forming a barrier to protect coastal area, as highlighted by the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka. Mangrove forests filter pollutants in runoff and preserve the purity of coastal waters, nurturing the surrounding environment. Mangrove lagoons are also home to a variety of species such as birds, fish and mammals – some of them highly endangered.

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Building Resilience in the Sundarbans

Building Resilience in the Sundarbans: Recognition by the World Bank of the importance of mangroves and sustainable shrimp farming

The Sundarbans, a world heritage site of mangrove forests since 1987 and home to the Bengal tigers, is faced with environmental damage worth INR 6.7 billion (~USD $10758750) due to anthropogenic pressures and climate change. The recent release of the report ‘Building Resilience for Sustainable Development of the Sundarbans’ by the World Bank denotes that this loss is equivalent to 4.8% of Sundarbans’ GDP in 2009 and is a combination of six damage categories (not including overfishing):

  1. Cyclones: INR 2.9 billion (2.1% of GDP; USD $4656770), which includes infrastructure damage, human injuries and fatalities.
  2. The cost of shrimp post-larvae by-catch losses: INR 2 billion (1.5% of GDP; USD $ 3211566), which is associated with fry collection and lack of hatcheries.
  3. The cost of carbon sequestration: INR 0.8 billion (~USD $1284626), which is associated with degradation and suboptimal density of mangrove forests.
  4. The cost of soil salinity: INR 0.6 billion (~USD $963470), in terms of yield of paddy rice.
  5. Biodiversity losses: INR 0.2 billion (~USD $321157).
  6. Preventable sea level: INR 0.045 billion (~USD $72260)

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JT Shrimp Profile

Here’s some shrimp you don’t have to question!

JT Shrimp LLC

If you received a copy of our Children’s Art Calendar this year, then you may want to take a moment to thank the people that made it possible. We’d like to introduce you to Scott and Leslie Tysen, the owners of JT Shrimp farm in Wheatfield, Indiana. Now, you may be asking yourself, how could there be a shrimp farm in Indiana – don’t shrimp need to be in the ocean? Not anymore!

Thanks to a unique recirculating aquaculture technique, called the zero exchange aerobic heterotrophic system, the Tysens and their two children raise fresh saltwater shrimp in a barn on their land. This technique allows the shrimp to be raised without the use of antibiotics or chemicals, and provides a healthy source of fresh seafood to the middle of the country. Continue reading

Sustainable Logging of Mangroves: An Oxymoron or a Solution?

Sustainable Logging of Mangroves: An Oxymoron or a Solution?

Most of the work of the Mangrove Action Project is focused on conservation and rehabilitation of mangroves. It seems antithetical that logging and timber operations could possibly pose a sustainable solution to mangrove degradation. Environmentally-minded citizens have probably heard that deforestation contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions; estimates range from 12%  to 30%, with recent estimate close to 15% to 20%. Mangrove deforestation has contributed to coastal degradation and loss of a variety of ecosystem services that are important not only to the environment but to the livelihoods of local inhabitants. Mangrove forests have also been identified as tremendous carbon sinks; deforestation activities release this sequestered carbon to the atmosphere. How then might logging actually improve the fate of mangrove forests? Continue reading

Seafood Watch grants a questionable “Best Choice” rating to Selva Shrimp®

Seafood Watch grants a questionable “Best Choice” rating to Selva Shrimp®

Consumers in the global North have been calling for seafood certifications so that they might be able to make conscious decisions about the food they eat, where it comes from, how it is produced, and the impact of production on people and the environment. Although seafood at the supermarket may proudly display labels from the Monterey Bay Aquarium or the Marine Stewardship Council, certifying something, most consumers do not know what that certification really means. Worse still, that certification scheme, that label, may not reflect what consumers are after: seafood that is produced with minimal impact on the environment; that supports workers and their livelihoods; and that is safe and wholesome to eat. Continue reading

SNV REDD+ program targets mangrove rehabilitation in Ca Mau Province, Vietnam

SNV REDD+ program targets mangrove rehabilitation in Ca Mau Province, Vietnam

A new program designed to rehabilitate and reforest mangroves in Ca Mau Province, Vietnam has been launched by SNV, an international non-profit focused on sustainable development. The program, called Mangroves and Markets, is a REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation “plus” conservation) initiative. REDD+, as defined by Conservation International, is “a suite of policies, institutional reforms and programs that provide monetary incentives for developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sustain economic growth by halting or preventing the destruction of their forests.” Continue reading

Walmart shrimp supplier faces accusations of human rights violations

Walmart shrimp supplier faces accusations of human rights violations

A Walmart shrimp supplier, Narong Seafood, has come under fire in recent days, accused of violations of both Thai law and international human rights standards. A briefing paper released on June 6th by Warehouse Workers United (WWU) and the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) outlines and documents serious worker abuse in a shrimp processing factory in Samutsakron, Thailand. The brief – “The Walmart Effect: Child and Worker Rights Violations at Narong Seafood” – highlights the frustrating fact that despite reform initiatives such as the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification inhumane conditions and workers’ rights violations continue to plague the industry. Continue reading