The perils of overintensification in shrimp farming
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Over the last few decades, as shrimp farming has evolved, there has been a general trend towards higher and higher stocking densities to increase production. In Latin America, the term “technification” is often used to describe this process – through which, the adoption of various forms of technology are used to increase stocking densities.
When it works, the process of technification increases shrimp production per unit farmed area, resulting in greater global volumes of shrimp. However, it is only profitable when it increases the efficiency of shrimp production and thereby – most importantly – decreases the production costs.
The highly competitive export market is what drives innovation and quick reactions in the shrimp farming sector. Many farmers now look at technology to turn farms that are not competitive today into competitive farms tomorrow. We are hearing much about AI, about IoT, about automation as ways to increase efficiency, and – yes – maybe some technologies will increase efficiency. However, adoption must be accompanied by understanding and evidence that the additional costs will provide more efficiency and a return on investment.
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