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Codes of Practice

The purpose of this Code is to promote shrimp health management as a holistic activity in which the focus is on disease prevention instead of disease treatment. Authorities on shrimp health management recognize that stress reduction through better handling, reasonable stocking densities, good nutrition, and optimal environmental conditions in ponds can prevent most infectious and non-infectious diseases. Treatment should be undertaken only when a specific disease has been diagnosed. Also, effective measures must be taken to minimize the spread of diseases between farm stocks and from farm stocks to natural stocks. This Code provides adaptable guidelines that should provide effective management of shrimp health. 

It should be kept in mind that:

Adherents to the Code shall adopt the principles of good shrimp health management to reduce the incidence of diseases and to protect natural fisheries. The following practices should be used to achieve these goals:
  1. Shrimp farming associations should work with governments to formulate and enforce regulations to include quarantine procedures for importations and exportations of broodstock, nauplii, and postlarvae.
  2. Healthy postlarvae should be used for stocking ponds. Survival of postlarvae should then be optimized by preparing the pond to ensure adequate availability of natural food, by properly acclimating postlarvae before stocking, and by avoiding stress by using appropriate handling and transportation techniques.
  3. Good water quality and bottom soil management should be used. Stocking rates should not be excessive and high quality feed and good feeding practices should be used.
  4. Strong chemical treatments that can stress shrimp should not be employed.
  5. Shrimp should be routinely monitored for disease, and a definite diagnosis obtained for any observed shrimp health problem.
  6. For non-infectious diseases related to pond conditions, carry out the best option for disease treatment or for correcting pond conditions.
  7. For mild infectious diseases with potential to spread within a farm, quarantine the pond and carry out the best option for disease treatment.
  8. For serious infectious diseases that may spread widely, isolate the pond, net harvest remaining shrimp, and disinfect the pond without discharging any water.
  9. Dispose of dead, diseased shrimp in a sanitary manner that will discourage the spread of disease.
  10. When disease occurs in a pond, avoid transfer of shrimp, equipment, or water to other ponds.
  11. Drug, antibiotic, and other chemical treatments should be done in accordance with recommended practices and comply with all national and international regulations.
  12. The shrimp industry should work with governments to develop certification programs for disease diagnosis laboratories and pathologists.
  13. Each country or geographical area should develop its own pond dry-out, and biosecurity strategy.

The Code is intended to foster greater awareness within the shrimp industry of the proper use of certain potentially toxic or bioaccumulative compounds in shrimp production. Careful control over the use of therapeutants and other chemicals in production will assure that farm-reared shrimp are less likely than wild-caught shrimp to contain residues of pollutants or contaminants. Environmental benefits also will accrue from responsible chemical use. This Code contains flexible criteria that will allow prudent use of certain drugs, antibiotics, and other chemicals in production without endangering food safety or threatening the environment.
The three basic objectives:

Adherents to the Code should strive to produce a wholesome product for consumers through responsible use of drugs, antibiotics, and other chemicals. Use of the following practices will assure this goal:
  1. Shrimp health management at hatcheries and farms should focus on disease prevention through good nutrition, sound pond management, and overall stress reduction rather than disease treatment.
  2. Where countries have approved lists of chemicals and chemical uses, only approved chemicals should be used in ponds and only for the use approved. Where such lists are not available, the shrimp industry and individual producers should work with governments to prepare such lists.
  3. Shrimp farmers should follow information on product labels regarding dosage, withdrawal period, proper use, storage, disposal, and other constraints on the use of a chemical including environmental and human safety precautions.
  4. When practical, antibiograms should be used to select the best antibiotic for use in a particular case, and the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) should be used.
  5. When potentially toxic or bioaccumulative chemicals are used in hatcheries and ponds, waters should not be discharged until compounds have naturally decomposed to non-toxic form.
  6. Careful records should be maintained regarding use of chemicals in ponds as suggested by the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) method.
  7. Store therapeutants in a cool place and in a secure manner where they will be inaccessible to unauthorized personnel, children, and animals, and dispose of unused compounds by methods that prevent environmental contamination.
  8. The shrimp-farming industry should work with governments to develop regulations for labelling the content and percentage of active ingredients in all chemicals including liming materials and fertilizers.
The purpose of the Code is to prevent eutrophication, salinization, reductions in biodiversity, and other environmental perturbations by using responsible pond management practices. Experience demonstrates that it is possible to optimize efficiency of shrimp production and be good stewards of the environment at the same time. This Code contains broad guidelines on pond management that can be used to standardize and improve operations for sustainable shrimp farming.
The Code asserts that: MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
It shall be the objective of adherents to the Code to use pond operation methods that are environmentally responsible while allowing profitable shrimp production. The following practices should be used to promote profitable, yet sustainable shrimp farming:
  1. Farms should be encouraged to use hatchery larvae rather than wild-caught larvae.
  2. Where wild-caught postlarvae are used, a screening method should be used to separate by-catch and return it to the estuary.
  3. Native species should be cultured whenever feasible; however, if non-native species are used, all applicable regulations should be obeyed regarding importation and inspection.
  4. Only healthy postlarvae should be used.
  5. Good water quality should be maintained by using stocking and feeding rates that do not exceed the assimilative capacity of the culture system and by using high quality feeds and good feeding practices.
  6. Water exchange should be reduced as much as possible.
  7. Fertilizers, liming materials, and all other chemicals should be used in a responsible manner and only as needed.
  8. Good shrimp health management should be used.
  9. Aerators should be positioned and operated to minimize erosion and creation of sediment mounds in pond bottoms.
  10. Freshwater from wells should not be used in ponds to dilute salinity.
  11. Effluents, sediment, and other wastes should be disposed responsibly.
  12. Bottom soils should be evaluated periodically between crops and necessary treatments applied to remediate deterioration in soil conditions that occur during culture.
  13. Water inlets and outlets to ponds should be screened to prevent entrance of competitors and release of culture species.
  14. Predator control methods that do not require destruction of ecologically important species should be used.
The Code is designed to increase the awareness of proper waste management within the shrimp farming industry and enhance protection of coastal land and water resources. Recognizing that a number of production activities produce wastes, shrimp producers and processors should formulate systems of waste management for protecting lands and waters in the vicinity of their activities. This Code provides a set of guidelines that can form the framework for responsible waste management that will benefit all coastal resource users including shrimp farming.
The Code helps to achieve and specifically recognizes that: MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
Adherents to the Code should continuously strive to improve waste management. Particular attention should be given to the following practices:
  1. Canals and embankments should be maintained to reduce erosion of above water portions.
  2. Minimize water exchange to the extent feasible.
  3. Use efficient fertilization and feeding practices to promote natural primary productivity while minimizing nutrient inputs.
  4. Store and use fuels, feeds, and other products in a responsible manner to avoid accidental spills that could contaminate water. An emergency plan should be made for containing accidental spills.
  5. Ponds should be drained in a manner to minimize resuspension of sediment and prevent excessive water velocities in canals and at effluent outfalls.
  6. Where feasible, pond effluents should be discharged through a settling basin or mangrove forest.
  7. Outfalls should be designed so that no significant impact of effluents on natural waters occurs beyond the mixing zone.
  8. Shrimp pond effluents should not be discharged into freshwater areas or onto agricultural land.
  9. Sediment from ponds, canals, or settling basins should be put back into areas from which it was eroded, used as earthfill, or disposed in some other environmentally responsible way.
  10. Sanitary facilities for disposal of human wastes should be provided at hatcheries, farms, and processing plants.
  11. Garbage and other farm wastes should be burned, put in a land fill, or disposed of by other acceptable methods.
  12. Shrimp farms, hatcheries, and processing plants should comply with existing governmental regulations related to effluents and other wastes.
  13. Processing plants, and where necessary, shrimp hatcheries should install effluent treatment systems of appropriate type and capacity.
  14. Managers should routinely evaluate waste management procedures and continually attempt to improve them.

Source: Global Aquaculture Alliance