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WWF-Ecuador and Ecuador’s National Chamber of Aquaculture (Cámara Nacional de Acuacultura – CNA, in Spanish) have signed an agreement to halt habitat conversion from shrimp farming across the nation.

Therefore, both organisms will utilize geospatial data generated by Clark Labs. They will analyze and classify land cover in coastal regions where shrimp farming is most common.

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In addition, CNA will be able to set a baseline and repeat this analysis year after year. The aim is to reduce and ultimately end all conversion from shrimp farming across the country shortly.

Cámara Nacional de Acuacultura

This agreement marks the first national commitment to conversion-free aquaculture from any country across the globe. Ecuador is home to the largest mangrove forests in the Eastern hemisphere. Although, it has seen coastal habitat loss due to conversion for shrimp farming.

Demand for shrimp

Demand for Ecuador’s shrimp has been rising consistently over the last five years. The nation is currently the world’s largest shrimp exporter – putting greater pressure on coastal habitat and wetland areas.

“It is time for a change in the way we produce commodities such as shrimp. In a more environmentally friendly way, particularly respecting mangroves, and not contributing to their degradation. A large sector of the shrimp industry is now committed to moving towards more sustainable production. Organizations like WWF are here to help make that happen,” said WWF-Ecuador country director, Tarsicio Granizo.

“The Ecuadorian shrimp sector has been characterized as an industry that cares for the environment and protects the surrounding ecosystems. This agreement will allow us to further strengthen our industry’s commitment to the conservation of ecosystems as valuable as mangrove forests. Also, serve as an example for other industries in Ecuador and worldwide,” shared Jose Antonio Camposano, Executive President of CNA.

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“Precisely, through this research effort based on scientific evidence, WWF seeks to identify a baseline to support future monitoring. Thus ensure the ecological integrity of these important ecosystems. Hopefully, one day when people ask which is the country with the most sustainable shrimp production, they point to Ecuador as an example of good shrimp production practices,” added Granizo.

As the world faces an interconnected climate and biodiversity crisis, steps to curb the unstainable use of our natural resources will be essential for the future health of both people and the planet. The time is right for Ecuador to commit to halting deforestation and habitat conversion from shrimp farms, maintaining the carbon sequestration benefits Ecuador’s mangroves provide, and delivering much-needed leadership in creating a more sustainable future for seafood.

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