A mass balance was constructed for nutrient flow through intensive marine shrimp ponds in which budgets for nitrogen and phosphorus were determined for a series of ponds in southern Thailand over two or three culture cycles. Ninety-five per cent of the nitrogen and 71% of the phosphorus applied to the ponds was in the form of feed and fertilizers. Of the feed input (at a food conversion ratio of 2) only 24% of the nitrogen and 13% of the phosphorus was incorporated into the shrimp harvested, whilst the remainder was retained in the pond and ultimately exported to the surrounding environment. The effluent water contained 35% of the nitrogen and 10% of the phosphorus discharged. Of the N and P exported in this effluent, 63–67% occurred during routine water exchange and the remainder during drainage on harvest. A major portion of the nitrogen (31%) and most of the phosphorus (84%) was retained in the sediments, emphasizing the importance of the correct removal and disposal of sediments between crops. Pond age (between two and six production cycles) did not markedly affect nutrient flows, whilst increasing stocking density increased the quantity of nutrients, but not their relative proportions.
The results derived from the nutrient budget provide data which may help define effective management techniques for reducing potentially harmful nutrient levels within intensive shrimp ponds, and for reducing the discharge of nutrients to the local environment. The data may also assist in determining the carrying capacity of an area for shrimp farming, and the potential impact of its development on the environment.
Briggs, M.R.P.; Funge-Smith, S.J. A nutrient budget of some intensive marine shrimp ponds in Thailand. Aquaculture Research (1994) 25 (8) 789-811. [DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2109.1994.tb00744.x]