The FOA have a published report (1997) as part of the support to the special plan for prawn and shrimp farming about Site Selection Towards Sustainable Shrimp Aquaculture in Myanmar. The executive summary notes: 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.
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.