Shrimp Culture in Thailand
Marine shrimp culture in Thailand was initiated in 1943, when salt and fish farms were converted into shrimp ponds in the areas of Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon and Samut Songkram Provinces. During the initial period, the farmers modified the large salt pond for the culture of shrimp by opening and closing the water inlet for filling the area with seawater during high tide and low tide. The juveniles of shrimps as well as natural feed would also flow into the pond altogether with seawater. The farmer would then leave the shrimp growing naturally in the pond for the period of about 50-60 days before harvesting.This type of culture system called “extensive” is characterized by low risks, low production but also by uncertain yields.
In 1972, the Department of Fisheries of Thailand succeeded in breeding tiger prawns (Penaeus monodon). At the same time, progress was made on the development of shrimp culture using smaller ponds, stocking of juvenile of shrimps, and feeding. This type of culture system is called “semi-intensive”, as the shrimp both rely on natural feed and human provided inputs. By 1982, shrimp culture drastically evolved within an advanced system called “intensive”. Under this system, the pond size was reduced to be around 1-5 rai (1 acre is equal to 2.5 rai), with stocking density of juvenile shrimp about 20-25 piece/m2, pellet feeding, and with water quality management. Based on that success, by 1985, the area for shrimp culture had expanded drastically and spread out all over the coastline of Thailand, creating a large-scale industry and network.