At present, aquaculture of black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) in the Puttalam district of Sri Lanka is unsustainable with more than 90% of the former shrimp ponds laying abandoned as a result of shrimp disease and improper management. Between 1992 and 1998, over 50% of the mangrove cover was removed in order to establish shrimp aquaculture. This severely affected the functioning of coastal ecosystems, reducing their provision of useful services and increasing coastal vulnerability to climate change. Changes in the hydrology and polluted residual matter make the soil unsuitable for other agricultural purposes without costly restoration. The root of the problem was inappropriate management and a focus on short term economic gains. Despite this previous failure, the national development plan, Mahinda Chinthana, now promotes aquaculture as an avenue for development. This will only be possible if aquaculture is regulated in a sustainable and well-managed manner, and does not increase local vulnerability to climate change effects.The current paper discusses the possible costs and benefits in applying the concept of Climate Compatible Development (CCD) to shrimp aquaculture in Puttalam, Sri Lanka. It suggests how the sector can support mitigation of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and adaptation to climate change effects, whilst stimulating development that will also benefit rural societies. Mechanisms that could enable this change include subsidies, insurance and bank loans which will also facilitate investment by foreign private enterprises and subsequent export. The development of a specific aquaculture policy and master plan would facilitate the process further.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.