Codes of Practice
SHRIMP HEALTH MANAGEMENT
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:
- Many disease problems can be prevented through stress management.
- Disease treatments should be made only after a clear diagnosis of the
- Spread of disease should be minimized by reasonable regulation of
importations of broodstock and larvae and by isolation and disinfection of
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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Strong chemical treatments that can stress shrimp should not be employed.
- Shrimp should be routinely monitored for disease, and a definite diagnosis
obtained for any observed shrimp health problem.
- For non-infectious diseases related to pond conditions, carry out the best
option for disease treatment or for correcting pond conditions.
- For mild infectious diseases with potential to spread within a farm,
quarantine the pond and carry out the best option for disease treatment.
- For serious infectious diseases that may spread widely, isolate the pond,
net harvest remaining shrimp, and disinfect the pond without discharging any
- Dispose of dead, diseased shrimp in a sanitary manner that will discourage
the spread of disease.
- When disease occurs in a pond, avoid transfer of shrimp, equipment, or
water to other ponds.
- Drug, antibiotic, and other chemical treatments should be done in
accordance with recommended practices and comply with all national and
- The shrimp industry should work with governments to develop certification
programs for disease diagnosis laboratories and pathologists.
- Each country or geographical area should develop its own pond dry-out, and
THERAPEUTIC AGENTS AND OTHER CHEMICALS
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
- The shrimp farming industry in each nation should work with governmental
and international agencies to develop lists of approved feed additives,
pesticides, drugs, antibiotics, and other chemicals and to specify approved
uses for each compound.
- Shrimp farmers who adhere to the Code will rely on good management to
prevent water quality and disease problems and chemicals should be used only
- Chemical should be used in ponds only after an accurate diagnosis of the
situation, and treatments should conform to acceptable protocol.
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:
GENERAL POND OPERATIONS
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Careful records should be maintained regarding use of chemicals in ponds
as suggested by the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)
- 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
- 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:
- Responsible pond operations can protect or even improve environmental
quality and enhance sustainability.
- Both profitability and environmental sustainability can be achieved at the
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:
EFFLUENTS AND SOLID WASTES
- Farms should be encouraged to use hatchery larvae rather than wild-caught
- Where wild-caught postlarvae are used, a screening method should be used
to separate by-catch and return it to the estuary.
- Native species should be cultured whenever feasible; however, if
non-native species are used, all applicable regulations should be obeyed
regarding importation and inspection.
- Only healthy postlarvae should be used.
- 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.
- Water exchange should be reduced as much as possible.
- Fertilizers, liming materials, and all other chemicals should be used in a
responsible manner and only as needed.
- Good shrimp health management should be used.
- Aerators should be positioned and operated to minimize erosion and
creation of sediment mounds in pond bottoms.
- Freshwater from wells should not be used in ponds to dilute salinity.
- Effluents, sediment, and other wastes should be disposed responsibly.
- Bottom soils should be evaluated periodically between crops and necessary
treatments applied to remediate deterioration in soil conditions that occur
- Water inlets and outlets to ponds should be screened to prevent entrance
of competitors and release of culture species.
- 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
The Code helps to achieve and specifically recognizes
- The shrimp aquaculture industry should promote responsible methods of
effluent and solid waste management to protect environment quality and
- Effluent and solid waste management is a continuous activity, and each
member farm should strive to improve waste management procedures and reduce
amounts of waste released to the environment.
- In countries where quality and volumes of effluent are not regulated by
permits from governmental agencies, adherence to the Code is an alternative
way of protecting the environment.
Adherents to the Code should continuously strive to improve waste management.
Particular attention should be given to the following practices:
- Canals and embankments should be maintained to reduce erosion of above
- Minimize water exchange to the extent feasible.
- Use efficient fertilization and feeding practices to promote natural
primary productivity while minimizing nutrient inputs.
- 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.
- Ponds should be drained in a manner to minimize resuspension of sediment
and prevent excessive water velocities in canals and at effluent outfalls.
- Where feasible, pond effluents should be discharged through a settling
basin or mangrove forest.
- Outfalls should be designed so that no significant impact of effluents on
natural waters occurs beyond the mixing zone.
- Shrimp pond effluents should not be discharged into freshwater areas or
onto agricultural land.
- 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.
- Sanitary facilities for disposal of human wastes should be provided at
hatcheries, farms, and processing plants.
- Garbage and other farm wastes should be burned, put in a land fill, or
disposed of by other acceptable methods.
- Shrimp farms, hatcheries, and processing plants should comply with
existing governmental regulations related to effluents and other wastes.
- Processing plants, and where necessary, shrimp hatcheries should install
effluent treatment systems of appropriate type and capacity.
- Managers should routinely evaluate waste management procedures and
continually attempt to improve them.
Source: Global Aquaculture Alliance