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Conversion-Free Farmed Shrimp 

As the footprint for farmed shrimp production has rapidly expanded, it has often done so at the cost of mangrove forests in some major producing countries. Half of all mangroves worldwide have been lost since the 1940s, with farmed shrimp production accounting for 30% to 50% of the losses. While clearing mangroves for farming is illegal in many producing countries, including Thailand, India, and Ecuador, the practice still occurs in some critical geographies and continues to be a pressing issue.

Preserving these ecosystems and their functions is critical to mitigating the effects of climate change, protecting wildlife, and ensuring community livelihoods. Mangrove forests are a vital coastal ecosystem that stabilizes shorelines in the intertidal zones of sub-tropical countries.

Beyond the thousands of rare, iconic, and threatened species that inhabit them, mangroves also provide many valuable ecological functions, including filtering water, protecting shores from erosion, and serving as a natural barrier against storms. They also store three to four times more carbon than tropical forests and may be one of our best defenses against climate change. It is critical that the future expansion of farmed shrimp does not drive the loss of additional intact mangrove ecosystems.

In Indonesia about 22% of current shrimp pond area sits on converted mangroves; in certain jurisdictions such as Kalimantan Timur and Kalimantan Utara, that number is over 50% as of 2018.

© Fletcher & Baylis / WWF-Indonesia
Mangroves are valuable ecosystems that offer valuable environmental, economic, and social services to the communities that live around them and to the world.


Given the current trends in executive commitments, consumer demands, shifting government regulations, and unpredictable impacts of climate change, it is strategically advantageous for companies to think about staying ahead of the conversion-free curve now. 
Businesses are increasingly making decisions based not only to the expected desires of consumers also to enhanced business longevity based on the sustainability of sourced materials and the products they sell.
Ensuring a conversion-free supply chain would not only reduce reputational risk and differentiate products in the market, it might also increase the value creation and resilience during times of uncertainty.
Among animal proteins, shrimp farming provides a compelling example because it is the most valuably traded seafood commodity in the world by volume and can be produced without converting significant amounts of land through controlled intensification.


  • Make a commitment to source responsibly farmed shrimp that is free from deforestation and conversion of natural ecosystems.

  • Join precompetitive platforms like the Seafood Task Force to leverage industry momentum and tools for stronger oversight and faster transition towards more sustainable and responsible seafood.

  • Source shrimp from farms that are certified by leading standards such as the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) that provides assurance that a product was produced in accordance with leading environmental regulations.

  • Use available geospatial maps and traceability technologies to demonstrate a product is free from conversion.


The first step to taking conversion out of a supply chain is identifying where it may be happening. Geospatial mapping technology, combined with robust traceability systems, is an important tool that allows companies to better understand their supply chain conditions from a social and environmental perspective.

© Antonio Busiello / WWF-US

Clark Labs Maps

Clark Labs Coastal Habitat Mapping tool identifies the ecosystem impacts of farmed shrimp operations by systematically cataloging mangrove and wetland land-use cover and change over time in production countries. When combined with supply chain traceability data that identifies source farm geographic coordinates, this can help companies confirm whether their farmed shrimp product may have contributed to wetland or mangrove habitat loss since 1999.

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