Shrimp profits in Thailand have come at a high price to the environment. Mangrove forests once lined the Thai coastline, but today over 60 percent of Thailand’s mangroves have been cleared, largely to make way for shrimp farms.
Aquaculture ponds are often rendered unusable after just two years, due to intensive farming practices and the use of harsh fertilizers. Today, 1200 square kilometers of abandoned shrimp farms scar the Thai landscape.
In their natural state, mangrove forests can provide food, livelihoods and medicine for local people. Mangroves are nurseries for marine life, and are rich in biodiversity. Today they are one of the most threatened ecosystems on earth.
In Thailand, replanting programs are beginning to take root across the country, encouraged by the Thai Government, NGOs, and, most importantly, the support of the local people. Cutting mangroves is now illegal in Thailand, but the destructive practice continues in other parts of the world, where shrimp farming is in its infancy.