Field Document




Based on the Work of

Charles L. Angell

FAO Shrimp Culture Environment Expert



Table of Contents



1. Introduction

2. Shrimp farming and the environment

3. Shrimp farm site selection in Myanmar

4. Zone planning for shrimp culture development




Shrimp culture in Myanmar is as yet little developed. Out of an estimated potential area of 48,000 ha, only 16,000 are used for traditional and extensive culture. A mere 80 ha use semi-intensive culture. Rakhine State predominates with 97% of the culture area.

Shrimp culture is expected to expand rapidly with the introduction of semi-intensive shrimp farming technology transferred from Indonesia. To avoid serious environmental and shrimp disease problems which have plagued other ASEAN shrimp producers, environmental impact assessment and best management practices (BMP) should be introduced.

The outstanding issues generated by semi-intensive shrimp farm development are:

1. Destruction of mangrove forest ecosystem

2. Deterioration in water quality

3. Land allocation

4. Economic losses through disease and poor management.

The shrimp farming industry in Myanmar can only be sustainable if good planning and management practices are introduced at this early stage. Technology transfer from neighboring ASEAN countries, especially Thailand, will be important in overcoming environmental and management problems.


1. Planning and management should be based on shrimp culture zones.

2. The environmental impact assessment of shrimp culture development should be

implemented within zones rather than on a project by project basis. Measures to mitigate negative environmental impacts would be applied on a zone basis. A unit within the Department of Fisheries would be established to establish shrimp culture zones, supervise and coordinate environmental impact assessment (EIA) and zone development.

An interdepartmental committee consisting of fisheries, forestry and environment experts would review the zone EIAs and make recommendations for modifications, if required.

3. Shrimp culture development zones ought to be incorporated in water shed

management to mitigate negative outside impacts on the zone.

4. The mangrove ecosystem should be protected and allowed to regenerate to the

maximum extent possible.

5. Small scale shrimp farming should be encouraged through the formation of associations such as cooperatives. Common water supply and treatment infrastructure can be developed for these association operating at least 10 ha total area.

6. Shrimp farmers must be encouraged to incorporate best management practices through extension and demonstration.

7. The permit process needs to be improved so that applicants demonstrate their knowledge of semi-intensive shrimp culture and show that their projects are economically viable. An inter ministerial committee including fisheries, forestry and environment experts should be established for evaluation of applications.

8. Monitoring for compliance with BMP and assessing environmental impacts should be carried out by township fisheries officers. An ongoing monitoring program would provide feedback for improving and updating EIAs and BMP.

9. Township fisheries offices will require considerable strengthening with personnel increases, improved training and equipment.

1. Introduction

1.1 Present status of shrimp farming in Myanmar

Extensive farming has been practiced for some time in the country, particularly in Rhakine province, adjacent to Bangladesh. While the shrimp aquaculture industry has developed rapidly in recent years in the ASEAN countries, Myanmar is only now embarking on modernizing its industry. Current government policy supports modernization and encourages foreign investment in the industry.

As shrimp farming has matured in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, it has confronted problems engendered by uncontrolled development of the industry. Disease and environmental degradation have called into question the sustainability of shrimp farming. The conversion of mangrove forests to shrimp farms with its attendant effects on fisheries and local communities has drawn the attention of environmental groups.

Myanmar shrimp farmers are in the fortunate position of learning from the mistakes of others. The focus of technological development in shrimp farming now is the reduction in environmental impact of the industry and in the more efficient use of increasingly scarce resources. The Myanmar industry can incorporate these advances through technology transfer and adaptation.

1.1.1 Area under culture

There are currently 16,000 ha used for extensive culture, mostly in Rakhine State. This state is adjacent to Bangladesh. Only about 80 ha are used for semi intensive culture in the country.

1.1.2 Estimated potential area for development

Preliminary estimates of potential area for semi-intensive shrimp farming have been made for Rakhine State, Yangon Division and Mon State. Tanintharyi Division has potential as well, but the present security situation is a constraint to development.

Detailed surveys of potential areas have not been made yet. The only criteria available to planners at the moment is the allocation status on record of lands. Unallocated lands are those unassigned to any governmental body or other user. Bear in mind that all land in Myanmar belongs to the state which bestows the right to lease to the private sector. Unallocated coastal lands are considered potential farm sites. By this reckoning, the following potential areas have been identified:

1.1.3 Technology currently employed

Almost all farms (99.5%) use "extensive" technology. Large areas are enclosed in dikes and flooded with tidal water which enters through a simple sluice gate or break in the dike. Shrimp fry are carried into the enclosed area by the tide and entrapped during the growing season. Occasionally, farmers will purchase wild fry but most rely on entrapment. Ponds are very large, usually exceeding 50 ha. The productivity of extensive culture is extremely low, but so is the investment and risk. Production rarely exceeds 100 kg/ha.

The 80 ha of semi-intensive farms are using more or less standard technology transferred from Indonesia. Hatchery fry are stocked at rates depending on availability. Stocking rates as high as 20/m2 are used if fry are available. The farms observed during the mission were constructed on salt flats inland of an accretion beach. Both farms incorporated reservoirs and were equipped with diesel powered aerators. The reservoirs are filled by pumps or tide. The traditional "dragon" pump used by salt producers is used to transfer water from the reservoirs to grow-out ponds. These pumps are made of wood and are driven by a small diesel engine. They appear to be very effective. Water may be pumped from the reservoir to ponds or be delivered by gravity. A combination of feeding by trays and broad casting is being replaced by exclusive use of trays. Feed is manufactured in Yangon. Growth seemed to be somewhat less than would be expected, but was considered satisfactory by the farmers. Slower growth could be due to the prevailing low salinity (5 ppt) as well as feed quality. One farmer was discharging sludge into his drainage canal. Neither of the two farms observed at Wetkhiat had sedimentation ponds.

1.2 Government programs for shrimp culture development

Until recently, foreign technical assistance was targeted at fresh water prawn culture. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded the construction of a hatchery in 1979. More recently, the Japanese Agency for International Cooperation (JICA) constructed an enormous prawn hatchery on the outskirts of Yangon.

An ADB loan supported marine shrimp culture in the mid to late 1980's. Two hatcheries were constructed at Thandwe, Rakhine State, and Dawei, Thanintharyi Division, respectively. Four hundred hectares of ponds were also developed under this loan.

More recently, FAO's technical cooperation project TCP/MYA/4554(T) has facilitated the rapid transfer of technology from Indonesia to Myanmar.

1.3 Outstanding issues and constraints

2. Shrimp farming and the environment

Shrimp farming is intimately tied to the coastal aquatic environment in which it operates. The long term sustainability of the industry depends upon high water quality. The genetic diversity upon which shrimp husbandry is based requires an intact coastal and estuarine environment. Recent experience in all of the major shrimp farming countries of the world has shown that shrimp farmers exceed the carrying capacity of their environment at their peril. The need for planning to encourage rational development of the industry is apparent. Myanmar is in the unusual position of having the advantage of learning from the errors committed by others. By taking these lessons into account, the country can establish a sound footing for a sustainable shrimp farming industry.

2.1 What is sustainable development in the context of shrimp aquaculture?

Semi-intensive shrimp culture relies on diverse inputs, among which are wild brood stock and post larvae, clean brackish water, land, fuel and electricity, feed and skilled and unskilled labor. To remain sustainable, shrimp culture, as any other agro industry, will remain sustainable only as long is it does not exceed the capacity of the resources on which it depends to renew themselves.

2.2 The role of mangroves in the coastal ecosystem

Mangrove forests are an ubiquitous feature of the intertidal zone of tropical coasts. These forests form an ecosystem upon which the productivity of coastal fisheries depends. Kapetsky (1985) diagrammed some of the complex interactions through which the mangrove ecosystem supports a diverse assemblage of animal species and benefits human communities (Fig. 1). Myanmar was estimated to have a mangrove forest area of 652,000 ha in 1983 (Hamilton et al. 1984).

Numerous studies have shown the relationship between coastal fisheries and mangrove forest area. Kapetsky (1985) estimated the medium yield of finfish, shrimp and crabs from mangrove associated lagoons and estuaries to be on the order of 9.1 tons/km2. More recently, de Graaf and Xuan (1997) estimated that one ha of mangroves produces 700 kg of marine fish catch. Ross (1975) calculated that a hectare of mangroves supported 150 to 175 kg of marine shrimp catch. It is apparent that a significant portion of Myanmar's fish production is dependent on mangrove forests. Most of the inshore catch is harvested by artisanal fishers, who benefit from the mangrove forest in indirect ways, as well. The area of mangrove by state or division is depicted in the following table (data not available for Yangon Division and Mon State):



Mangrove area (ha)



Public Forest


Rakhine State




Ayeyarwady Division




Tanintharyi Division








Source: Department of Forestry, 1992 estimates.

The decrease in forested area since 1983 is about 271, 000 ha. This has led to a loss of coastal fisheries production of almost 190,000 tons annually, including 41,000 to 47,000 tons of shrimp.

2.3 Interactions between shrimp farms and the mangrove ecosystem.

Sustainable shrimp aquaculture rests on a healthy mangrove ecosystem. It should not be forgotten that the mangrove forest is the nursery ground for cultured shrimp species, whose genetic diversity forms the basis of the shrimp aquaculture industry. Uncontrolled destruction of the mangrove ecosystem will lead to reduced breeding stocks of major cultured species. Not only will genetic diversity decline, but spawners and brood stock will become increasingly difficult to catch.

Shrimp farming depends upon high water quality. Mangroves and the biota associated with them are a natural biofilter, removing excess nutrients and sediments discharged by shrimp farms. Mangroves protect shorelines from erosion and are very effective storm breaks.

Traditional brackishwater ponds were constructed in the intertidal zone which required clearing mangrove forests. In central Java, these ponds, or tambaks, were built centuries ago. During the initial development phase of modern shrimp culture, the same practice was followed, but it soon became apparent that mangrove forest soils were difficult to manage. The problems associated with the construction of shrimp farms in mangrove forests are a result of the high acid sulfate potential of their soils. Anaerobic decomposition leads to the formation of iron pyrite (Simpson et al. 1983; Hasan and Loon 1986). When exposed to air, pyrite is oxidized to iron and sulfuric acid. Low pH stresses shrimp directly and if low enough will starve pond water of nutrients, release toxic ions and precipitate iron on the gills and exoskeleton of shrimp. Reclamation of acid sulfate soils is possible in some instances, but it is a time consuming process and can take years if the pyrite load is high. Experience in Sumatra indicates that high yields from ponds constructed in mangrove forests are not sustainable (Hambrey 1996). Average productivity dropped precipitously from around 10 tons/ha to about 2.5 tons/ha over 4 years. Shrimp farming is an increasingly competitive business so the increased costs of construction in mangrove forests and associated soil reclamation costs mitigate against farm development in this ecosystem.

The environmental movement is increasingly focusing attention on the ecological damage inflicted by unplanned shrimp farm development (Goldburg 1997;Greenpeace 1997; Nixon 1996). There is debate concerning the measures to be taken. Options range from an all out ban on the import of cultured shrimp to "green" certification. Lest the influence of the movement be under estimated, it is well to recall the imposition of rules regarding dolphin kills in the tuna fishery and more recently the requirement for turtle exclusion devices (TED's) on shrimp trawlers. Environmental strictures primarily affect North American and European markets, major seafood importers.

Technological advances in shrimp farming have moderated the negative impact of the industry on the environment. In the early 1980's, pump driven water supply was demonstrated as economically efficient for shrimp farming . Farms could be sited above high water, avoiding mangroves entirely. Concurrently, the problems of siting ponds in mangrove forests have became better known and appreciated. The shrimp culture zone has moved into the upper intertidal zone beyond the mangrove forest or, increasingly, onto open sea coasts.

2.4 Potential impacts of agroindustrial development on shrimp farming.

Watershed development may affect the sustainability of shrimp farming, particularly farms located within estuaries. Agroindustrial development may threaten shrimp farming through pesticide runoff, siltation from land clearing, nutrient runoff from fertilizers, and high Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) discharges from processing plants. Shrimp culture development should be within the context of a coastal zone management program which includes water shed management and the control of pollution from industrial sources.

2.5 The impact of environmental degradation on shrimp farming

Shrimp pond construction has itself been responsible for varying degrees of environmental degradation through what might be called negative feed back. Localized eutrophication and mangrove ecosystem destruction are prominent examples. The consequences of degraded coastal ecosystems have been disastrous for both shrimp farmers and local communities. The destruction of mangrove habitat in the inner Gulf of Thailand led to the collapse of the shrimp farming industry there (Macintosh 1997). The loss of 75% of the mangrove forests of the Philippines to aquaculture, including shrimp farms, has had a disastrous effect on coastal fisheries and fisherfolk (Macintosh op. cit.). Clearing of mangrove forests for pond construction has resulted in high acid runoff and fish kills in Malaysia.

The disappearance of mangrove forests has been due to uncontrolled timber harvesting and land development as well as conversion to shrimp ponds. Most of the loss of mangrove habitat in Thailand has been attributed to development other than shrimp culture. These pressures continue as human coastal populations continue to grow.

Localized eutrophication and pollution may occur when the density of shrimp farms exceeds the carrying capacity of the environment to absorb nutrients and organic matter discharged in the effluent from ponds. Dumping sludge in drainage and intake canals is believed to be responsible for the rapid spread of disease in areas of high density.

Poor upland management, deforestation in particular, increases sedimentation and sediment loads in rivers. Rapid coastal accretion may render shrimp farms inoperative as their water supplies are cut off. Suspended sediments increase operating costs since frequent removal and disposal of settled solids in reservoirs and ponds are required.

Pesticide runoff from agriculture may directly kill shrimp or it may induce sustained stress in the animals, which leads to epizootics. Taura virus disease of Penaeus vannamei first appeared in an estuary in Ecuador polluted by pesticides used on banana plantations. It has now spread throughout Central America, Mexico and as far north as the state of Texas in the United States.

Improvements in the technology of shrimp culture can dramatically reduce its impact on the mangrove ecosystem. Closed and semi-closed systems are under development in response to the disease threat and are already in use in Thailand (Bob Rosenberry, publisher of World Shrimp News, Internet communication) Such systems will have the additional benefit of reducing discharges of pond water and sludge into the environment.

3. Shrimp farm site selection in Myanmar

Apart from extensive culture practiced mainly in Rakhine State, shrimp farming is in its infancy in Myanmar. Technology is being rapidly transferred from ASEAN countries and a rapid expansion of the industry can be expected. Now is an opportune time to establish environmentally sound site selection criteria which will contribute to the sustainability of the industry.

3.1 Current site selection criteria

All land in Myanmar is owned by the state and leased to the private user or allocated to a government body. Land use status is the sole criteria currently applied to shrimp farm site selection. Coastal lands unallocated to government bodies or private use are considered as potential sites.

An individual or corporate body interested in shrimp farming will select a site in the area of interest with the assistance of the township fishery officer. The status of the site is determined at the township level in the land record office. If the site is unallocated, the interested party may submit an application to the Director General of Fisheries.

3.2 The permitting process

The prospective farmer submits an application for a permit to the Director General of Fisheries. The application need only include the location and area of land required for the project and the amount of investment The application is evaluated by the Director for Aquaculture, Department of Fisheries. He consults with township authorities and the township land record office in which the project is to be located to ascertain the allocation status of the requested land. If the land is unallocated, the Director submits the application to the DG who convenes a meeting of the evaluation committee with the DG as Chairman, Director as Secretary.

If approved, the DG of Fisheries sends the application to the Ministry of Livestock Breeding and Fisheries, who will convene a meeting of the Management Committee consisting of the Minister as Chairman, DG of Fisheries as Secretary and the Directors and Deputy Directors as members. For Myanmar nationals the process ends here with approval or rejection.

In the case of foreign investors, the application will have to fulfill the requirements of the Myanmar Investment Commission and must be submitted to the Office of the aforesaid commission. The Chairman is the Deputy Prime Minister and the Secretary is a representative of the Prime Minister's office. The approval process takes about 6 months.

3.3 The need of CZM in the country

Myanmar is in many respects in the initial stages of development as understood in the post war context. Agroindustry is hardly developed and there is very little industrialization. It is understandable that the environment has not yet been given a high priority. On the other hand, the government has the opportunity to promulgate environmental management plans which will promote sustainable development. Barg (1992) characterizes management as reactive or proactive. Reactive management is an issue driven process, the nature of the issue dictating the program. Proactive integrated management is part of development planning. It aims to avoid user conflicts and environmental degradation through correct decisions in the initial stages of planning. It is far cheaper to take the proactive road.

Shrimp farming is one among a variety of economic activities utilizing the coastal zone. Fishing, forestry, tourism and industry also draw on its land and water resources. Activities in the coastal zone are cross-sectoral, imposing the need for inter-departmental and inter-ministerial coordination and planning. The focus should be on ecosystem management, rather than on narrow sectoral concerns. Effective CZM relies on an adequate data base describing the human and natural ecology of the area in question. Geographic information systems (GIS) are built to provide the inputs required for CZM. GIS is much more than satellite imagery, including land use mapping, population data, soils and climate description, delineation of water resources and their uses, topographic mapping, etc. Analysis is greatly enhanced through conversion of data into computer compatible formats. GIS can be constructed without satellite imagery, although it is extremely useful.

Projects proposed for development in the CZ are evaluated through the process of environmental impact assessment (EIA). Project approval by relevant authorities is based on an independent evaluation of the project's EIA. EIA on a project-by-project basis would be difficult to implement in the current situation in Myanmar. Manpower and financial constraints limit the ability of both aspiring shrimp farmers and the Department of Fisheries to develop and evaluate full-fledged EIAs such as described by Barg (1992).

Although the capacity of the government is constrained by manpower, financial and legal impediments, it is nevertheless crucial that the shrimp aquaculture industry develop on a path that will lead to its sustainability - providing income and jobs into the foreseeable future. An alternative to full fledged project-based EIAs could be the delineation of shrimp culture zones within which environmental criteria can be applied.

4. Zone planning for shrimp culture development

Confining shrimp aquaculture development to zones identified as suitable for the activity enables a zone wide application of those aspects of EIA within the capacity of the Department of Fisheries. Mitigation measures can be applied throughout the zone and made a requirement of permit approval. Furthermore, the zones can be incorporated into watershed development planning to insure that upland development will not negatively impact shrimp farms within the zone.

A sequence of steps emulating the project based EIA process applied to shrimp farm zonation incorporates most of the features of the EIA process as described by Barg (1992). The development of shrimp culture zones can be pictured as occurring in stages, i.e., selection, prefeasibility, feasibility, planning, implementation, development and on-going evaluation and monitoring (Table 1).

Table 1. The zonal EIA sequence (modified from Barg 1992)

Stage of zone development

EIA process

  Identify shrimp culture zone applying general site selection criteria.
  Delineate land usage within proposed zone
1. Selection Estimate area suitable for semi-intensive shrimp culture.
  Identify environmental issues
2. Prefeasibility Initial assessment
  Gathering of baseline environmental data
  Public participation in zone planning
  Prediction and quantification of impacts
  Identification of needed prevention and mitigation measures
  Preparation of EIA for the selected zone
3. Feasibility Review of EIA by Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Environment.
  Infrastructure planning
  Detailed design of mitigation measures, refinement of impact predictions, and economic analysis including cost effectiveness
4. Planning Integration of shrimp culture zone within watershed management
  Implement improved permitting process
  Monitoring program designed
5. Development Implementation of mitigation measures
  Monitoring for compliance and testing for accuracy of predictions
6. On going evaluation

and monitoring

Corrections based on actual performance
  Post audit and lessons learned for future EIAs

4.1 Selection

The selection of shrimp culture zones is the first stage of a zone management program. Five activities may be undertaken during the selection stage, as follows :

4.1.1 Identify shrimp culture zones applying general site selection criteria

General site selection criteria include land elevation, salinity and turbidity within acceptable limits, low potential sulfate acidity of soils, minimal user conflicts, low impact on the mangrove ecosystem, and sufficient infrastructure. Regions of high coastline accretion should be avoided. The boundaries of a shrimp culture zone can coincide with shorelines and elevation. For example, in Rakhine State, a zone could be established around the Ma Yu and Kywede River estuaries bounded by the shoreline and the contour interval at MHW + 2 meters.

The area of a zone should be large enough to accommodate both large and small scale farmers, but not so large as to make the EIA too complex and time consuming. The zone should contain features facilitating mangrove forest conservation and the implementation of BMP.

The elevation of land in relation to mean sea level influences vegetation, soil characteristics, water supply and investment and operating costs of farms. The relationship between these various factors according to elevation is presented in Table 2. Higher elevation land is preferred as it reduces construction costs. Soil characteristics also improve with increased elevation. On higher elevations, care must be taken that salt water intrusion into aquifers will not occur.

Fresh water influence along most of the coast of Myanmar restricts shrimp farming to only one crop in some areas. Economic studies are required to ascertain if semi-intensive culture is sufficiently profitable in a single crop situation. Although there are no experimentally established turbidity limits for P. monodon, high turbidity significantly increases operating costs. Areas of prolonged low salinity and high turbidity are best avoided.

Acid sulfate soils are not suitable for aquaculture. Such soils may be reclaimed, but in cases of heavy pyrite loads, the reclamation process is very prolonged and costly. Reclamation consists of alternately drying, filling and draining the pond during the dry season. Tilling and liming are done after drying. The idea is to flush out iron pyrite, but it may require several years to bring soil pH up to an acceptable level. This is the principal reason why mangrove forests make poor sites for semi-intensive shrimp farms. Low pH soils and water have poor primary production, heavy concentrations of hydrogen sulfide, and in extreme cases result in shrimp mortality from toxic dissolved aluminum. Potential sulfate acidity must be measured according the method of Simpson et al. (1983) using peroxide oxidation of the dried soil sample.

Table 2. Coastal zones for semi-intensive shrimp culture.

Coastal zone Tidal range General soil properties Development Pond productivity Soil treatment
    Type/texture pH* cost    
Secondary mangrove forest Submerged at LHWL pyrite/peat 2.4 - 4.0 Difficult, high cost Initially very low Reclamation before use
Grassy swamp Submerged at MHWL pyrite/clay loam 3.5 - 5.0

6.5 - 7.0

Easy, low cost Initially low Reclamation before use
Coconut plantation Submerged at MHWL along ditches pyrite/clay loam 3.5 - 5.0

6.5 - 7.0

Easy, low cost Relatively low


Reclamation before use
Salt pans Above MHWS pyrite/clay loam 3.5 - 5.0

6.5 - 7.0

Easy, low cost Relatively low


No reclamation before use if pyrite content is low
Rice fields, dry land crops Above HHWL Clay loam to loam 7.0 Very easy, lowest cost High No special treatment
Coconut plantation Above HHWL Sandy clay loam 7.0 Very easy, lowest cost High No special treatment
Grass and others Above HHWL Sandy loam, loamy sand 7.0 - 8.0 Very easy, lowest cost High No special treatment

* pH of dried soil

In Rakhine State, a de facto zonation of the coastal area has evolved according to elevation. Within a narrow belt of degraded mangroves, traditional (entrapment) ponds occupy an area related to the elevation of the land and the extent to which tidal water intrudes. Rice fields occupy slightly higher elevations from which mangroves have been cleared. Such farms are typically single crop, rain fed systems of low productivity. The elevation is such that these areas make ideal shrimp farms. The potential for conflict between rice production and much more profitable shrimp farming thus arises. Traditional ponds can be converted to semi-intensive shrimp farming, provided the operators have access to technology and finance. Rice farms can also be converted to very productive shrimp farms, greatly benefiting the farmers and their communities (such a transition has occurred in Thailand).

Virgin mangrove forest should be excluded from development for the reasons listed in sections 2.2 and 2.3. At any rate, there is very little remaining in the country (Htun Paw Oo, Department of Forestry, personal communication). Intrusion into secondary forest capable of regeneration should be avoided and the forest allowed to regenerate. Besides the ecological impact of mangrove removal, the soils at these elevations usually have a high acid sulphate potential.

Infrastructure (highways, electrification, water supply, etc.) is in general poorly developed in the coastal regions of the country. Transport is generally by boat and farms will be forced to use diesel-powered pumps and aerators. Zones with more advanced infrastructure could be given priority to give an impetus to shrimp culture development.

The high run off from the major rivers discharging into the coastal waters of Myanmar causes considerable accretion of the coast line adjacent to their estuaries. Satellite imagery is very helpful in identifying rapidly accreting coasts. Comparing old and recent quadrangle maps and navigation charts is also helpful, as well as geological records. Rapidly accreting coastlines are best avoided as sea water supplies can be cut off in a relatively short span of years.

The preliminary identification of zones can be greatly aided by satellite imagery, aerial photographs, nautical charts and quadrangle relief maps. The Department of Forestry is currently building a GIS data base which can be used to advantage by the DOF.

4.1.2 Map land usage within proposed zone

The area available for shrimp farming within the zone can be determined by mapping land usage. Low altitude aerial photographs are particularly useful if they are fairly current. Satellite imagery may be employed to cover larger geographic areas, perhaps including several potential zones. It may be necessary to undertake a mapping survey if other data are lacking. Maps, satellite images and aerial photographs should be digitized if possible to facilitate accurate measurements of potential farm sites.

4.1.3 Estimate area suitable for semi-intensive shrimp culture

A digitized, composite map of the zone would be drawn, incorporating the survey data. The area suitable for shrimp farm development could be easily calculated. Survey data available from other departments such as forestry could be readily incorporated into the zone map.

4.2 Prefeasibility

Following selection of the zone, we want to look for possible environmental problems which exist or could foreseeably arise and make an initial assessment of the zone. The steps to be taken at this stage include the following:

1. Identify environmental issues

2. Review of zone for ecological sensitivities

3. Initial assessment

4. Gathering of baseline environmental data

5. Public participation in project planning

4.2.1 Identify environmental issues

Significant environmental issues should be identified at the pre-feasibility stage of zone development. If serious impacts are anticipated, for example, the removal of regenerating mangroves, the zone can be modified or declassified as required. Environmental issues fall into 2 categories: the impact of the environment on shrimp farming and the reverse, the affects of shrimp farming on the environment. Some of these interactions have been described in section 2. Impacts on shrimp culture

The potential impact of pollution and environmental degradation varies according to the geographic location of the zone in question. The planner should examine the condition of the watershed in which the zone is located to identify possible agricultural sources of pollution. If pesticides are widely used in the watershed, screening for residues can be conducted on wild shrimp inhabiting the waters which will supply farms in the zone. Juveniles of P. monodon should be used if found locally. Even if residues are found in the water column, they may not necessarily accumulate in shrimp tissue, so testing the organism is more relevant. High pesticide residues in shrimp would eliminate a proposed zone from consideration for development.

Silt loads and settling rates of heavier fractions should be estimated for peaks of the northeast and southwest monsoons. The information may be available from other ministries or departments (Rivers and Harbours, etc.). The amount of silt deposition directly affects shrimp farm operating costs.

Pollution from industrial sources does not appear to pose a significant threat to shrimp culture in the immediate future. Ports and harbours are sources of hydrocarbon pollution, but shrimp farming areas are usually remote from coastal harbours. Yangon is probably the main area of concern. Zones located in the Yangon division could be affected by excess BOD or industrial wastes. Major point source pollution in Yangon should be identified and the fate of their discharges at the Yangon River mouth determined. Impacts by shrimp culture

If the total area available for shrimp farm development has been estimated for the zone, the potential environmental impact can be evaluated. The extent to which mangrove forest would have to be removed should be measured. Using the estimates of de Graaf and Xuan (1997) and Ross (1975), the potential loss in fish production due to conversion to shrimp farms can be estimated.

Other conservation values should be considered at the pre-feasibility level. The mangrove forest serves as habitat for species of ecological as well as esthetic importance. The forestry department has identified 29 mangrove species, 65 fish species, 13 prawn and shrimp species, 4 crab species, 9 mollusks, including oysters, 6 mammal species, 30 bird species, and 1 crocodile species, which is on the endangered species list.

The risk of salinization of ground water supplies has to be evaluated for sites at higher elevations within the zone. Salinity and soil permeability are factors to be considered. Percolation tests can indicate the degree to which sea water will infiltrate adjacent soils.

The major source of pollution from shrimp farms is the water discharged during the completion of harvesting and sludge. The indiscriminate discharge of sludge increases receiving water BOD and will pollute sea water supply to the farms in the zone. Sludge can be disposed of on the landward edge of mangroves, provided it is evenly spread at a shallow depth over a broad area. Up to 400 m3 of sludge per crop can be produced from one hectare of production pond (Macintosh 1996). Sufficient space must be available in the intertidal zone to accommodate the anticipated sludge production from the area to be developed. Alternative disposal routes should be identified (horticulture) and their associated costs estimated.

Water discharged during grow out may carry elevated BOD, total nitrogen, phosphorus and solids compared to receiving waters. However, these levels are low compared to common sources of these pollutants (Macintosh and Phillips 1995). The carrying capacity, that is, the ability of the receiving waters to dilute additional nutrient and organic inputs, determines the loading level that can be imposed on the receiving waters without danger of auto pollution. As a general guideline, ammonia nitrogen should not exceed 0.1 ppm, while nitrate remains below 5 ppm in receiving waters (Currie 1994).

4.2.2 Initial assessment

The preceding examination of the zone will indicate its suitability for semi-intensive shrimp farming in general terms. The zone may be considered for further development if the following conditions are met:

- There are no obvious sources of pollution from within or without the zone which would negatively affect shrimp, either directly or indirectly.

- Sediment loads in brackish water sources are low to moderate

- The adjacent shoreline is accreting at a low rate

- The persistence of water having suitable salinity is sufficiently long to allow profitable semi-intensive shrimp farming.

- Virgin mangrove forest will not be affected nor will regenerating mangrove forests be impacted to any significant degree.

- The density of development can be controlled to prevent exceeding the carrying capacity of the water receiving farm effluent.

- The risk of salinization of ground water is nil.

- Sufficient space exists within the zone for accommodating sludge disposal.

If these basic criteria can be met, zone development may proceed. In the next stage, more detailed baseline data will be sought.

4.2.3 Gathering of baseline environmental data

Baseline data may be considered from two perspectives: those will indicate the condition of the environment in the zone and its immediate surroundings and basic environmental parameters affecting semi-intensive shrimp culture.

Baseline environmental data includes water chemistry and the extent and condition of mangroves in the zone. Water chemistry can focus on dissolved nitrogen, especially ammonia nitrogen and total nitrogen as well as phosphorus. Measurements of BOD and transparency should also be included in a baseline data acquisition programme. Baseline water chemistry observations should be taken monthly for one year so that seasonal variations can be accounted for.

Carrying capacity in large part depends upon the rate at which the estuary can dilute effluent. The flushing time can be estimated in relation to the dilution rate, D which is the inverse of the flushing time (1/F):

D = (Vh - Vl )/T x Vh

Vh = volume of the water body at high tide

Vl = volume of the water body at low tide

T = time period in days

Knowing the bathymetry of the receiving water body, the volumes at high and low tide can be calculated, provided the receiving water body is sufficiently well defined (an estuary, river mouth or channel). A greater density of farms can be developed in areas with higher flushing rates.

Although the amount of nitrogenous waste can be calculated from the quantity of feed given, its fate in the environment is uncertain. Biological processes affecting the concentration of dissolved nitrogenous waste are photosynthesis and denitrification. There are no theoretical models which can predict the ultimate fate of nitrogen and phosphorus wastes originating from shrimp farming. The magnitude of waste loading can be appreciated from Table 3.

Table 3. Theoretical waste loading per ton of feed for an intensive shrimp (stocking >10/m2) assuming a feed conversion ratio of 2:1 (Macintosh and Philips 1995)

Source Nitrogen (kg) % Phosphorus (kg) %
Feed input 152.0 100 28.4 100
Shrimp harvest 33.9 22.3 4.0 14.08
Waste load 118.1 77.7 24.4 85.92

Thus baseline water quality data including various forms of dissolved nitrogen will reflect increases due to shrimp farm effluents.

An inventory of the flora and fauna of the zone and its adjacent waters should also be taken. This would include a list of mangrove species and their vertical and spatial distribution. This kind of baseline data will facilitate monitoring of the impact of shrimp culture on its surrounding environment and indicate if corrective action should be taken.

Basic environmental parameters affecting shrimp farming should be measured for the proposed zone. Salinity is a controlling influence on shrimp culture and should be measured for at least one year at fortnightly intervals. Measurements should be taken at probable water intake points within the zone.

Soil samples are best taken along several transects from the shoreline to the landward boundary of the zone. Sample spacing along the transect can coincide with easily identifiable sectors within the zone, i.e., mangrove forest, traditional pond, etc. Three parameters are of interest: clay content, pH and potential sulfate acidity. Distance between transects will depend on the degree of detail required, variability of characteristics within the zone and available manpower and funds.

Topographic surveys should be undertaken within the zone. Elevations are referred to a tidal datum plane such as mean sea level. The area available for semi-intensive shrimp farms depends upon the relief of the zone. The layout of common water supply canals, drainage, reservoirs and sedimentation ponds depends on topography, as well. These common facilities will be required where small scale projects are undertaken.

4.2.4 Public participation in zone planning

Potential shrimp culture zones are currently exploited by multiple users, including fishers, traditional shrimp farmers, timber harvesters and rice farmers. Indiscriminate development within the zones will inevitably generate conflicts between shrimp farmers and other users. The interests of traditional users within the zone must be respected to avoid future problems. Proactive management means involving all users in the planning process at the pre-feasibility stage.

A consultative process can be developed between planners in the Department of Fisheries and local communities through the establishment of community forums in which local communities are introduced to the technology of semi-intensive shrimp culture, zone planning is explained and the priorities of the local communities are identified and incorporated into zone development.

Marginal rice farmers should be given access to technology and financing to develop semi-intensive shrimp culture. They can be encouraged to form associations or cooperatives to facilitate technology transfer and financing.

4.3 Feasibility

The results of the pre-feasibility stage are incorporated into the formulation of the zone EIA. The following elements are developed in the feasibility stage:

- Prediction and quantification of impacts

- Identification of needed prevention and mitigation measures

- Preparation of EIA for the selected zone

- Review of EIA by Departments of Fisheries, Forestry and Environment.

4.3.1 Prediction and quantification of impacts

The broad economic and environmental impact of semi-intensive shrimp farming in the zone can be estimated based on the area to be converted. Forty to fifty percent of the area will be production surface, the rest occupied by dikes, water supply canals, reservoirs , sedimentation ponds and support facilities (utility buildings, staff housing, pump houses, etc.

Estimates of per hectare production can be based on standard models for semi-intensive farms. For example, at a stocking rate of 15 PL's/m2, 70% survival, average harvest weight of 30 g, and 2 crops/year, annual per ha production would be 7.4 tons/year. The gross revenue from this level of production would be about kyat 14.8 million at a farm gate price of kyat 2000/kg. The existing semi-intensive farms can be used as sources of data for investment and operating costs from which income can be estimated.

If a feed conversion ration of 2:1 is assumed, 14.8 tons of feed would be required per ha of production surface to achieve the projected yield. Thus, the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus released annually into the surrounding environment would be 1748 and 362 kg, respectively.

BOD discharges during grow-out vary from 4 to 10.2 mg/l (Macintosh and Phillips 1992). The quantity of BOD can be estimated based on a maximum allowable discharge of 10 mg/l. Water management will vary from farm to farm, but may average 40% exchange per week of culture. If the average pond depth is 125 cm and the grow out period is 4 months, 160,000 m3 of water will be discharged annually from a one ha pond. The BOD added to the receiving water would be approximately 1.6 tons per ha per year based on the above assumptions.

A small area of mangroves may have to be removed for the construction of water supply and drainage canals, the surface area (including dikes) of which can be calculated.

If marginal rice farmers convert to shrimp farming, the loss in rice production should be calculated and expressed as a percentage of national production to estimate the impact of basic food supplies.

The use of antibiotic additives in feed in grow out operations should be strictly prohibited. The prophylactic use of antibiotics is a dangerous and questionable practice both from the viewpoint of the sustainability of shrimp farming and the public health. The variety of human and animal pathogens which have developed antibiotic resistance is growing rapidly. The release of such biologically active compounds into the environment must be reduced, if not eliminated. Stress is the primary cause of bacterial diseases and is best countered by good management practices rather than resort to prophylactic drug use.

4.3.2 Identification of needed prevention and mitigation measures

Mitigation of the environmental impact of semi-intensive shrimp farm development can be implemented at the zone level by planners in the Department of Fisheries and at the project level through modifications and improvements in application procedures. Measures that can be taken include the following:

1. Excluding mangrove forests from farm development and designing farm layout to prevent interference with freshwater influx to the mangroves.

2. Requiring the inclusion of reservoirs and effluent treatment ponds on a project or zone basis.

3. Encouraging best management practices (BMP) through extension and training programs.

4. Working with feed manufacturers to develop less polluting products.

5. Prohibiting the prophylactic use of antibiotics.

6. Requiring effluent discharge into the mangrove forest wherever possible.

7. Mandating sludge management protocols as a permitting requirement.

8. Using natural or artificial barriers to prevent salt water intrusion into ground water supplies.

4.3.3 Preparation of the zone EIA

The zone EIA is a compilation of the information and data generated during the preceding steps in the pre- and feasibility stages of the development process. The EIA should undertake the following:

1. Identify beneficial and adverse environmental and social impacts.

2. Propose measures and technologies to reduce negative impacts.

3. Identify actions which could be taken to enhance beneficial effects.

4. Propose a monitoring system to track impacts and provide for feed back to

planners and projects to counteract any environmental deterioration.

4.3.4 Review of EIA by Departments of Fisheries, Forestry and Environment.

Recalling the importance of an ecosystem approach to managing shrimp farm development, government bodies dealing with closely related land use should be incorporated into the process of evaluating the environmental impact of semi-intensive shrimp farming. Their inputs will be invaluable in enhancing sustainability through better management of the industry.

The review of zone EIAs would preferably be done at the departmental level through the establishment of a review committee jointly chaired by directors general of the respective departments with directors of aquaculture, forestry and the appropriate section in the Department of Environment as members. Technical staff from each department should also be included as members. The EIA review committee would be responsible for approval or rejection of the EIA. In the case of rejection, the committee should recommend changes to conform with the EIA.

Copies of the EIA would be distributed to all members of the committee for independent appraisal. At the conclusion of a stipulated time period, for example, 60 days, the committee would meet in plenary session to make its recommendations to the Minister of Livestock Breeding and Fishery. Approval for the development of a particular zone would depend on the recommendation of the EIA review committee. If the recommendation is negative, the technical staff of the Department of Fisheries would make appropriate revisions and re-submit the EIA for the committee's consideration.

4.4 Planning

Actual planning for the development of semi-intensive shrimp culture begins with the approval of the EIA. Aspects to consider are infrastructure planning, detailed design of mitigation measures, refinement of impact predictions, and economic analysis including cost effectiveness. The planning stage lays the foundation for the development of the zone and its integration with adjoining watershed management. The responsibility for zone planning, EIA supervision monitoring and development should lie with a zone planning and development unit which could be established within the Aquaculture Division.

4.4.1 Infrastructure planning

Initial infrastructure planning will be of a general nature as the zone will not yet be open for development and applications not yet received. Most zones are likely to include a mix of small scale and investor funded projects. If at all possible, the area for small scale projects should be identified at this stage. Using Thailand as an example, most small scale semi-intensive shrimp farms tend to be less than 2 ha. These may be individuals or members of cooperative societies or other organizations. The Department should mandate some kind of group association or organization, such as a cooperative. The main reason is to design economically viable pollution and disease control systems including effluent treatment ponds and reservoirs. It would be prohibitively expensive to install these systems for individual small scale farmers, but if producers are organized into associations of at least 10 ha of production surface, pollution control structures are feasible. Associations also can construct common water supply and drainage systems with the association sharing the cost of pumps and pumping. Water exchange can be coordinated within the association and with other associations and projects in the zone to everyone's benefit.

Investor funded projects should be required to install pollution control facilities as a condition of their permit. As it is in their own long term interest to do so, the requirement should be readily acceded to. There are some progressive farmers in the country who are already implementing some of these technologies.

4.4.2 Detailed design of mitigation measures

Most mitigation measures fall under the Best Management Practices or BMP. BMP is applied at the farm level and can be implemented by small or large projects. BMP should be incorporated in the extension package for semi-intensive shrimp farmers. Many shrimp farmers manage according to pre-determined schedules and methods which may or may not be adaptable to Myanmar. Shrimp farmers should be trained and equipped with water quality monitoring tools which will not only mitigate environmental impacts of shrimp farming, but will improve their efficiency, and hence profits. Reducing water exchange rates

Water exchange is one example of a management tool which is frequently done according to a "formula." Frequent water exchanges are costly and often not necessary and may even be counter productive by diluting phytoplankton and interfering with the oxygen balance in the pond (Hopkins et al. 1995). The natural biological processes in the pond can be enhanced with aeration. Water exchange should be done on the basis of measured parameters, particularly ammonia nitrogen, rather than by a fixed schedule.

Experiments by Hopkins et al. (op. Cit.) demonstrated that greatly reduced water exchange had no discernible affect on production. Increasing aeration is cheaper than pumping. Water exchange can be completely eliminated from semi intensive ponds through proper feed management and adequate aeration. In fact, intensive shrimp farmers in Thailand are using closed systems as a means of disease control. In a closed system, even harvest drainage water is pumped back into the reservoir and reused! The practice greatly reduces pollution since most waste is flushed out of the pond at harvest time. Improving feed quality and feeding practice

As noted in a previous section, feed is the primary source of nutrient pollution in a shrimp pond. Good feeding practice not only reduces pollution, but increases profits through an improved feed conversion ratio (FCR).

The best way to improve FCR and reduce pollution from unconsumed feed is with the use of feeding trays and frequent feeding when the shrimp are most active. This is already being practiced by semi-intensive shrimp farmers in Myanmar and should be encouraged. The traditional rice winnowing trays are commonly used at 50/ha. More durable trays are easily made from sand filled " thin wall plastic tubing formed into a circle and joined with PVC cement. Plastic mosquito screen can be used for the tray bottom.

The Department should work closely with farmers and the feed mill in Yangon to develop more efficient feeds. Protein assimilation needs to be greatly improved so that the protein component of feeds can be reduced. Research in other shrimp producing countries should be closely followed and the results incorporated into feed manufacturing in Myanmar whenever possible. Effluent treatment pond design and operation

No untreated effluent should be permitted to be discharged into receiving waters. The science of shrimp pond effluent treatment has not advanced to the point where one can specify the area of treatment pond required per ha of production pond. Thailand is the most advanced in this area, so for the time being, their standard of 10% of the production area can be applied (Macintosh and Phillips 1992). The function of the treatment pond is to remove suspended particle organic matter. This can be done by sedimentation and biological treatment. The biological treatment is done by filter feeding bivalves including oysters, mussels and clams or detritus feeding fishes such as mullet and milkfish (bandeng or bangos). The choice of biological treatment is partly determined by market opportunities for the treatment organism. For example, oysters are effective in removing suspended organic matter but in Myanmar their market is very small. However, export opportunities may exist in Thailand if transport difficulties can be overcome. Another problem with bivalves is the availability of seed stock. If seed is abundant locally, it is easy and cheap to collect. Oysters should be grown in trays held on racks off the bottom. They need to be periodically exposed to control fouling, which can be done by lowering the water level in the treatment pond either by pumping into grow out ponds or discharge to waste. Fouling is usually minimal during low salinity periods.

Seaweeds such as Gracilaria may be cultured in the treatment pond as a means of reducing ammonia nitrogen. Polycavernosa fischeri is one of the "gracilaria" species which produces high quality agar. Not all species will grow in a pond and their marketability depends on the quality of agar which is extracted from them. Other species green macrophytic algae like Enteromorpha and Caulerpa also grow in ponds, but they have not been tested as a component of a biological treatment system. Enteromorpha has been dried and ground for inclusion in poultry feeds. Most species do not grow in low salinity water, so their use may be limited to higher salinity periods.. Sludge management and disposal

The management of sludge has become a major issue in semi- and intensive shrimp farm management. Its removal from the grow out pond is essential to the health of the pond. On the other hand it can be a significant pollutant if not properly handled.

One strategy is to remove the sludge at the conclusion of each culture cycle and use it as landfill or store in a leaching pit. Sludge can be disposed of on the landward side of the mangrove belt and replanted with appropriate mangrove species (Macintosh 1996) or deposited in a leaching pit. A properly constructed leaching pit is a contained rectangular area divided into sections. A layer of course gravel is put in the floor of the pit, perforated drain pipes are put in place and another layer of gravel placed on top of the drainage system, followed by a layer of sand on which the sludge is deposited. Leached sludge has been demonstrated to be an excellent horticultural soil conditioner (Sandifer and Hopkins MS). It could be tried directly on coconut palms since their salt tolerance is high.

A second strategy is to remove sludge as it is formed during the grow out. Small portable dredges are easily constructed of local materials. The discharge may be directed to the leaching pit. Hopkins (1994) designed an apparatus which works as a siphon. It is very inexpensive and simple to operate. The device was designed for intensive ponds with at least 20 hp of aeration, but the principle could be adapted to semi-intensive ponds. The mangrove ecosystem as a biological filter.

Effluent from the sedimentation pond should be discharged into the mangroves which will serve as a "polishing" biofilter, removing excess dissolved nutrients. Care must be exercised not to overload the ecosystem. Careful monitoring is required during the course of zone development. Mangroves can also be planted within the treatment system, for example along the edge of the effluent treatment pond or in the main discharge canal. One could construct ridges within the effluent treatment pond which would be planted with mangroves along the water's edge. The appropriate species would have to be selected and trees would have to be pruned at regular intervals. Compost and cattle fodder can be prepared from the pruned foliage. Mangroves have been used in tertiary sewage treatment in the United States (Macintosh and Phillips 1992). The polishing effect of mangroves is one reason for establishing buffer zones. Establishing mangrove buffer zones

Existing mangrove stands in the zone must be preserved partly to act as a buffer which will naturally treat pond effluents, as well as stabilize the shoreline. Where mangroves have been removed or reduced to a narrow belt, replanting should be undertaken to establish a belt of at least 50 to 100 m width. The Malaysian fisheries department for instance requires a 100 m buffer zone, but there is no research data to indicate what might be an optimum width or area which should be associated with a given production area of shrimp farms. In any event, the buffer zone will improve water quality as well as increase local capture fishery production. "Closed" culture systems

As previously mentioned, Thai shrimp farmers are incorporating water recirculation into their intensive culture technology. The principle is readily applied to semi-intensive culture, as well. If the culture system includes a reservoir and effluent treatment pond, relatively minor modifications would be required. Some increased cost would be involved in installing and operating a pump to lift water from the effluent treatment system back to the reservoir. Biofiltration in the effluent treatment pond would be required to make the system sustainable. Closed system culture is being tested in Thailand as a means of combating viral diseases. Restrictions on the use of antibiotics

The unrestricted use of antibiotics in aquaculture poses a grave threat to the sustainability of the industry as well as to human health. The threat comes about through the development of resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria such as Vibrio spp. The inclusion of antibiotics in feeds as a prophylactic must be prohibited. Antibiotics should only be allowed for treatment of specific diseases and then under the supervision of a veterinarian. Antibiotic use in the hatchery should be strongly discouraged. Many disease problems which led in part to the collapse of the shrimp culture industry in Taiwan originated in hatcheries where massive amounts of antibiotics were used. It is believed the PL's from these hatcheries had very low resistance to bacteria found in grow out ponds. Restrictions on the import of larvae, post larvae and broodstock.

Imports of shrimp larvae, post larvae and brood stock should be prohibited unless certified disease free by an official aquatic veterinarian of the exporting country. In the future it is likely that high health broodstock will be available from Thailand. It would most likely be shipped as nauplii. This broodstock would greatly enhance productivity of Myanmar shrimp farms, so a total ban is not advisable. However, the authenticity of the source must be unquestionable.

There are reports that farmers in Thanintharyi Division have imported PL's from Thailand and that they have experienced disease problems in their ponds (U Chin Khoke, Department of Fisheries, personal communications). This could very well mean that yellow head and/or white spot virus have been introduced into the country by this route. Their spread to other farming areas would be inevitable.

4.4.3 Integration of shrimp culture zone with watershed management.

Established shrimp culture zones should be integrated with upland watershed management planning. The existence and benefits of semi-intensive shrimp farming should be recognized in a wider development context. Shrimp farming can be severely impacted by negative environmental impacts of economic activities in upland areas. Pollution abatement measures should be required of agricultural and industrial development in watersheds discharging into or adjacent to shrimp farming zones. Forestry practices should be designed to minimize erosion with its attendant heavy fresh water runoff and siltation which heavily impact the coastal zone.

Consultation between ministries concerned with upland development and the Department of Fisheries is an essential element of the integration of shrimp culture zone development with watershed management. Education of planners and project developers is an important aspect of the integration process. For example, few foresters are aware of the relationship between forests and fisheries, either riparian or coastal. The education function can be carried out through joint seminars on land and coastal zone management, popular newsletters, and television and radio programmes dealing with the subject. The latter media also reach the general public and occasion the interest of the news media in general.

4.5 Development

Projects are undertaken at the development stage. The permit process is put in place and a monitoring system established to insure that mitigation measures are taken by projects in the zone.

4.5.1 Implement improved permitting process

The existing permitting process within the Department of Fisheries should require more of the applicant. It is important to assess whether or not the applicant has sufficient knowledge of semi-intensive shrimp farming and has done enough study of the proposed project to determine its economic viability. Consequently, the applicant, either an individual or association, should be required to submit a feasibility study as part of the application. The following contents are suggested:

1. Introduction

This may include background information about project and the applicant. It may also provide background on the industry in general. The reasons for selecting the technology to be employed can also be explained in the introduction.

2. Project Objectives

The objectives may be financial, social, or a combination of these or other objectives. The applicant should indicate a time frame for achieving these objectives.

3. Technical and biological indicators

Biological aspects - General characteristics of the species to be cultured, i.e. tiger shrimp; the annual requirement for spawners and brood stock; sources of seed stock. If the project includes a hatchery, the location and production capacity of the hatchery should be given.

Culture methods in general - the stocking rates to be used in the nursery phase (if any) and grow-out phase; anticipated time required for each phase; expected Feed Conversion Ratio; production area dedicated to each phase; water exchange rates to be used and methods of water exchange, whether tidal or pumping or both.

Environmental mitigation - describe the measures taken in the project design to mitigate the environmental effects of the operation; area and operational protocols for reservoirs and effluent treatment; sludge management plan; disease control protocols.

Culture protocols - Feeding, sources of feed, quantities to be used at each phase, feeding method and frequency; fertilizers to be used, type and quantity, method of application at each phase; sanitary control measures, water treatment, effluent management.

Water quality - chemical and physical parameters of source and receiving waters including salinity, temperature, secchi disk transparency, sediment load, pH, alkalinity; quantity of water to be used in culture operations.

Harvesting equipment and methods to be employed.

4. Site characteristics

Map indicating the project site showing principle access routes, utilities and topography; vegetation and relative abundance; soil type, pH, potential sulfate acidity, percent clay; climatological characteristics of the site, annual precipitation/evaporation, temperature maxima and minima; basic services available at the site(electricity, potable water, fuel and transport).

5. Physical infrastructure of the project

Area - total area occupied by the project; area dedicated to water storage, nursery, grow out and effluent treatment; area occupied by water supply and drainage canals, outbuildings, pump stations, etc.

Layout - location and configuration of water supply, storage, nurseries, grow out ponds, drainage canals, effluent treatment, effluent discharge point.

Profiles - cross sections showing elevations of water supply canals, water storage, nursery and grow out ponds, drainage canals, effluent treatment and discharge.

Hatchery - if the project includes a hatchery, the salinity regime of the adjacent sea should be given; location and layout of the hatchery, production capacity, source of broodstock and spawners; effluent treatment protocols, transport to be used to support hatchery operations and PL marketing.

6. Marketing plan

Market study - an assessment of global and local market conditions; price and volume fluctuations, price trends for cultured shrimp, demand trends in major markets.

The applicant should describe in detail the marketing plan for the product; product form, quality control measures to be taken to meet Hazard Analysis Critical Central Point (HACCP) requirements, how the product will be transported to the buyers, location of the buyers and their main markets.

7. Investment and finance

Total investment required for the project, sources of finance (investors, bank or whatever other type), conditions of credit, if granted (interest rate, loan period, installment plan).

8. Economic indicators

The applicant should include a financial analysis of the project indicating the anticipated internal rate of return. The assumptions used in the model should be clearly stated.

Anticipated social benefits of the project should be described - employment generation, skill levels of jobs created; economic benefits to local communities, increase in local food supplies, if any; foreign exchange generation.

4.5.2 Monitoring program designed

The monitoring program is designed to work with semi-intensive shrimp farmers to achieve the goal of a sustainable industry. A coordinating committee can be established at the DOF level, but monitoring should be done at the township level by the township fisheries officers. These officers would undergo a short training course in environmental management of semi-intensive shrimp farming convened in Yangon. Periodic upgrades would be given to keep the officers abreast of the latest developments nationally and in neighboring ASEAN countries, especially Thailand. Part of the training should include study tours to eco shrimp farming projects in Thailand including site visits to small farms using closed system culture.

Monitoring should start at the construction phase and be an on-going process. The township fisheries officer combines his/her extension and monitoring functions, emulating T& V through which the officer gets feedback from farmers which can be used to make mid course corrections in policy and culture protocols - always keeping sustainability as the goal.

Township fisheries officers need to be equipped with the tools necessary to do their jobs. This would include water and soil analysis kits, computers and printers.

4.5.3 Implementation of mitigation measures

As a condition of permit approval, at the project level, management will be required to implement measures to mitigate the environmental impact of the project. These measures must mesh with the protocols identified in the zone EIA. The protection of mangrove forest, for example must be observed by all projects in the zone. Cooperation among projects will be necessary to establish mangrove buffer zones, coordinate water management and control disease outbreaks.

Township fisheries officers with the support of the departmental coordinating committee will ensure that projects comply with mitigation requirements. They should have the authority to stop those projects not in compliance with the terms of their application until appropriate measures are taken to implement project level environmental mitigation.

It is worth looking at the possibility of government financing of common infrastructure, including water supply and drainage, reservoirs and effluent treatment ponds and mangrove buffer zones to encourage small farmers and associations to take up semi-intensive shrimp farming. As a condition of permit approval, farmers or associations (coops, etc.) would be required to jointly manage common facilities and cover any operation and maintenance costs. The development of semi-intensive shrimp farming would be stimulated by such public investment. It should be possible to recover the investment in common infrastructure through a levy based on production by those farmers using the common facilities. Amortization of cost could be over a 10 year period. Experience in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia has shown that small scale farmers with 2 ha or less are more efficient than large investor funded projects, especially when provided with good extension support from the Department of Fisheries. Furthermore, the economic benefits tend to stay in the local community.

4.6 On-going evaluation and monitoring

Semi-intensive shrimp farming is an evolving industry. Technology is constantly improving and productivity increasing. Shrimp aquaculture is a global industry and farmers must respond to challenges in a global market. Myanmar shrimp farmers must compete with very efficient counterparts in other ASEAN countries, and in Central and Latin America. On-going evaluation and monitoring is an important component of the response to global competition. It transfers the latest technology to farmers and contributes to sustainability by ensuring compliance with environmental mitigation protocols. Feed back from farmers will continuously improve the monitoring system and improve information flow and technology transfer.

Viral diseases are an ever-present threat requiring region wide responses. Only Thailand appears to be developing diagnostic and preventive technologies for the major viral shrimp diseases. The timely transfer of remedial culture protocols becomes increasingly important as the magnitude of losses can be considerable.

4.6.1 Monitoring for compliance and testing for accuracy of predictions

Data on pond effluent emissions is still very limited. Constant updating of field data will provide the inputs necessary to revise mitigation measures and improve their efficiency. These data can be collected by township fisheries officers and digitized for rapid analysis and dissemination.

Compliance with required mitigation measures can be assessed through regular measurement of water quality as expressed in the amount of ammonia nitrogen, dissolved oxygen, BOD, pH, alkalinity transparency. These parameters are readily measured with water analysis kits. Water quality needs to be assessed in both effluent and receiving waters. The data should be regularly reviewed by the coordinating committee to detect any negative impacts on receiving waters.

4.6.2 Corrections based on actual performance

There are few water quality standards for waters receiving shrimp farm effluents nor for effluents, at least in the SE Asian region. The Thai department of Fisheries has set maximum allowable BOD in effluent waters at 10 mg/L (Macintosh and Phillips 1992). Currie (op.cit.) mentioned limits for dissolved ammonia and nitrate in receiving waters of 0.1 and 5 mg/l, respectively. These may be taken as guidelines for the moment, but should be revised if further studies so warrant.

Should these limits be exceeded, corrections would be made to farm management, depending on the likely source of the problem. Design changes might be called for in new projects, as well. These changes could be incorporated into permit requirements so that all new farms would follow guidelines based on best available data.

4.6.3 Post audit and lessons learned for future EIAs

When a zone has been completely developed according to standards and BMP's as mandated by the Department of Fisheries, an audit of the effectiveness of the mitigation measures implemented in the zone should be undertaken. The following questions may be posed :

- Has water quality remained acceptable;

- Did farms incorporate the prescribed mitigation measures and how did they


- What was the impact of mitigation measures on investment and operating


- Did the feedback mechanism work adequately and if not, what were the

major constraints

- Did the permitting process function efficiently or was it too complicated or

bureaucratic in its implementation;

- Was small scale semi-intensive farming encouraged through the

construction of common facilities?

The lessons learned from the implementation of zone EIAs should be part of a continuous education and evaluation process wherein experience is incorporated into the EIA. EIAs should not be seen as fixed or rigid frameworks, but rather as evolving mechanisms through which the objective of sustainable semi-intensive shrimp culture is obtained.


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Simpson, H.J.;H.W. Ducklow, B. Deck;H.L. Cook. 1983. Brackishwater aquaculture in pyrite-bearing tropical soils. Aquaculture 34 (333-350)

Taw, Nyan. 1997. Support to the special plan for shrimp and prawn farming. Draft report. TCP/MYA/4554(T).

Teichert-Coddington, D. 1995. Estuarine water quality and sustainable shrimp culture in Honduras. In Swimming through troubled waters. Proc. Special Session on Shrimp Farming, World Aquaculture Society, C.L. Browdy and J.S. Hopkins, eds.


6.1 The role of hatcheries in sustainable shrimp culture and support for small scale semi-intensive shrimp farmers

The development of semi-intensive shrimp farming depends on a concurrent increase in hatchery production. In the existing situation, shrimp hatcheries for P. monodon are entirely dependent on wild brood stock. It is known that certain viral diseases such as monodon baculovirus (MBV) and SEMBV (white spot) are endemic in wild populations of tiger shrimp. In this situation, the hatchery becomes a mechanism for the introduction and spread of disease.

Every measure possible must be taken to control the introduction of viral diseases to shrimp farms. Even so, it will probably not be possible to keep them out of Myanmar. Several approaches can be taken to reduce viral disease risk. Among these are strict hatchery sanitation, identification of wild stocks which do not carry viral diseases, and the development of disease resistant strains of P. monodon.

The most immediately available precaution is strict hatchery sanitation. This includes proper disinfection of spawners, brood stock and eggs. Weekly chlorination of the entire hatchery water supply including filters is a must in a sanitation program.

Identifying virus free wild stocks and captive breeding of resistant strains will require international cooperation between farmers in Myanmar and research institutes in Thailand, Malaysia and the U.S. Viral DNA probes are under development at universities and institutes in Thailand and the U.S. which will be used to survey wild stocks. The Thai Department of Fisheries has recognized that basing an animal husbandry industry on wild animals is not sustainable and has embarked on a brood stock domestication programme. Scientists at the Oceanic Institute developed procedures for the production of specific pathogen free high health brood stock for Penaeus vannamei; these techniques will be applied to tiger shrimp. The Myanmar Department of Fisheries should act as an information clearing house and arrange for study tours and support staff to attend relevant training courses.

Studies have shown that small shrimp farms of 2 ha or less are more efficient that large operations. Their economic benefits tend to stay in local communities. However, small farmers need strong government support if they are to prosper.

Encouraging small scale farmers to form groups such as cooperatives to facilitate technology transfer and financing has been mentioned above. Farmers can lower costs by purchasing as a group. This is particularly useful for feed purchases. Technology transfer occurs between the expert and the group, rather than individual basis.

The agriculture bank should set up a special funding program under which construction and operating costs can be financed with out a collateral requirement. The loan program should be focussed on associations and cooperatives. The Department of Fisheries would train bank officers in the basics of shrimp aquaculture and assist them in evaluating project proposals and monitoring project performance.

The loan fund would be set up as a revolving fund drawn upon by the group members. Recipients are chosen by group members and loans are granted to individual members in turn. The loan recipient would have to have land use rights, been trained by the DOF in shrimp culture and have obtained a permit for shrimp farming following the expanded application procedures.

6.2 Terms of reference

Under the overall responsibility of the Director of Field Operations Division (TCO) and the direct supervision of the Chief, Operations Group, RAPR, to whom the staff member will be directly responsible, the guidance of the designated technical and operations officers and with frequent referral to the national authorities directly concerned in the Government Executing Agency, in particular the project National Co-ordinator, the consultant will carry out the following tasks:

review the existing legislation and practice concerning the selection of sites for shrimp culture ponds;

review the sites which have been identified as the most appropriate for shrimp culture development;

develop guidelines for the management of site selection and allocation;

formulate recommendations for environmental management (operation and maintenance) of semi-intensive shrimp farms.

The report will be addressed to the project operations officer at RAPR (two hard copies and diskette in Word 6).

6.3 Itinerary

7/3 Thursday. Arrival in Bangkok from Seattle. Briefing with project operations officer, RAPR. Travel to Yangon

7/4 Friday. Discussion with Department of Fisheries officials. Briefing with FAOR, Yangon.

7/6 Sunday. Visit to fish market.

7/5 Saturday. Site visit to semi intensive shrimp farms at Wetkhiat in Yangon Division.

7/7 Monday. Discussions with private sector shrimp farming company.

Meeting with Director of Training, Department of Fisheries.

7/8 Tuesday. Site visits to freshwater prawn hatcheries in Yangon.

7/9 Wednesday. Draft report preparation.

7/10 Thursday. Draft report preparation

7/11 Friday. Flight to Sitway canceled. Draft report preparation

7/12 Saturday. Travel to Sitway. Discussions with shrimp farmers' cooperative. Observation of shrimp processing plant.

7/13 Sunday. Site visit to semi-intensive shrimp farm belonging to shrimp farmers' cooperative.

7/14 Monday. Field trip to hatchery at Soemtyi. Site visit to semi intensive shrimp farm at mouth of Ma Yu River.

7/15 Tuesday. Return to Yangon.

7/16 Wednesday. Meeting with NPD of coastal community forest management project, Department of Forestry.

7/17 Thursday. Debriefing with FAOR. Meeting with Director General of Fisheries and Director of Fisheries.

7/18 Friday. Departure for Bangkok.

6.4 Persons met

U Soe Win, Director General, Department of Fisheries.

U Chin Khoke, Aquaculturist, Deputy Director, Department of Fisheries.

U Aye Pyo, Marine Biologist, Department of Fisheries

Mr. P. Nath, FAOR, Yangon, Myanmar

Mr. U Thing Way, Managing Director, Myanmar Aquaculture Industry Ltd.

Mr. Win Htin, Technical Advisor, Top Win Co. Ltd.

Mr. Thdun Thi Ha, Legal Affairs Officer

U Nyi Nyi Lwin, Deputy Director, Research and Development

U Khin Maung Aye, Chairman, Union of Myanmar Aquaculture & Fisheries Association, Director, JV6,

U Khin Maung Aye, Deputy Director, Training

U Htun Paw OO, National Project Director, Environmentally Sustainable Food Security and Micro-income Opportunities in the Ayeyarwady (Mangrove) Delta (MYA/96/008), Ministry of Forestry, Department of Forestry

U Manug Maung Lwin, Staff Officer, Research and Development, Department of Fisheries.

U Chan Ta, Chairman, Star Coral Cooperative, Sitwe

U Kyaw Aye, Managing Director, Star Coral Cooperative, Sitwe

U Khin Ng Latt, Secretary, Star Coral Cooperative, Sitwe

U San Kyau Hla, Board of Directors, Star Coral Cooperative, Sitwe

U Kyaw Soe, Manager, Myanmar Garming Fisheries Ltd., Sitwe

U Myint Thein, Hatchery Manager, Soemekyi.