Regulated shrimp fishing does not reduce environmental impact
Regulations implemented by the government to restrict the impact of shrimp fishing are not efficient enough as they restrict an amount of fishing tons which are never reached.Bogotá D. C., 23 de agosto de 2016 — Agencia de Noticias UN-
As concluded by Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Biology master’s candidate Juan Eduardo Hernández, in his thesis entitled, “Environmental performance of shrimp farming and shrimp trawl fishing from the lifecycle analysis perspective.”
According to the researcher, Colombia requires standard ISO 14040 for shrimp fishermen to restrict their total catch to 4,000 tons a year to protect the environment. However production ranges between 2,000 and 2,800 tons a year, therefore the limitation does not have a population impact and does not allow measuring the damage to the ecosystem.
For this reason Hernández claims it is necessary to rethink this restriction to regulate shrimp fishing in Colombia. His proposal is to reduce the fishing quota and establish fishing periods during the year when shrimp populations are at their peak with the purpose of accurately measuring the environmental impact.
To carry out this analysis the researcher worked on two fishing techniques, shrimp farming and trawl fishing. After analyzing more than 115 shrimp pools and taking samples of open ocean shrimp fishing he established the significant environmental impact of sea shrimp fishing. For instance he established that use of fossil fuels for trawl fishing contributes to climate change and impact the ecosystem.
Furthermore, raw materials such as refrigerants used to produce ice to keep shrimp cool also have a direct impact on climate change and gas emissions which could be controlled by limiting sea fishing.
Another impact of great relevance is fishing other species which cohabit with shrimp. A kilo of shrimp (in the ocean or shrimp farms) is accompanied by a good amount of other smaller species which are not returned to the sea but thrown away as waste, which also has an impact on the ecosystem,” said Hernández.
Although both fishing systems have an impact on the ecosystem and have grave consequences on climate change and aquifer ecosystems, shrimp farming is more regulated and can benefit shrimp production.
“Both types of fishing are invasive, controlled fishing helps deplete free resources and if inputs (seeds, larvae, etc.) are appropriately managed and not abused they can continue producing shrimp without impacting the environment,” he said.
Shrimp production in Colombia is one of the most important inputs of sea product marketing. According to figures obtained by the researcher, shrimp farming contributes with 30% of the fish export revenue of Colombia, after tuna exports.
Efficient use of this resource as well as improving government regulations is essential to carrying out more responsible shrimp production and not negatively impacting the environment.(Por: Fin/ACP/MLA/DPZA