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Coastal Aquaculture Practices in Chachoengsao District, Thailand

Parven. A

Corresponding author & Address: Mrs. Afshana Parven. Lecturer, Atish Dipankar University of Science & Technology, Dhaka-1213. E-mail:


Shrimp culture with an open water exchange system has some common problems including phytoplankton crashes, pond bottom deterioration and bacterial diseases. Phytoplankton crash causes a significant increase in ammonia in the water body, decrease of dissolved oxygen and a rise in organic material. This stressful condition increases bacterial concentrations and often leads to outbreak of Vibriosis, Zoothamnion infections etc. To solve this problem Chachoengsao Coastal Fisheries research and Development Center developed a new project. The principle of that project is ecological balance and closed system shrimp culture using various sea-weeds in the culture pond to absorb the excess nutrient (N,P) and also influenced large scale farmer the Shrimp-Artemia integrated culture technology for commercial production which have low impact on environment but is sustainable. The objective of this study was to see coastal aquaculture systems for shrimp culture and fish cage culture and to learn the example of technical development of environmentally low impact aquaculture.

Key Words: Shrimp culture, phytoplankton, ammonia, nutrient, Shrimp-Artemia integrated culture technology,


Chachoengsao is located on the banks of the 'Bang Pakong River, which comes from Prachinburi River and is 120 km long. It is the maximum utilized river. There are 200 canals in Chachoengsao district, urban community combined activities together. There are three models. In single model where 12 hrs for higher tidal and 12 hrs for lower tidal, in case of 2nd model there have 2 lower and higher tide in a day and the 3rd model is the mix. 'Bang Pakong River is the 2nd model. Lower tide and higher tide have fixed hour.

The town was established in the year 1549 during the region of King Maha Chakkaraphat of Ayutthaya and originally used as a centre for armed force recruitment. Chachoengsao is commonly called "Paet Riu”, such a name is derived from the large sized fish locally caught in the past. The total area of Chachoengsao is 3,344,375 rai, within this area 3,261,738 rai (97.50%) he, non-irrigation area 2,324,568 rai (71%) and irrigation area 937,170 rai (28.70%). Chachoengsao is the supreme fertile land because of the production of various crops for example, rice 500,000 rai annual crop & 300,00 rai dry season crop, pig 856,771 ind. (B.E. 2544), chicken egg 35 % of the whole country production, shrimp farming 74,062 rai, orchard, field crop and fisheries. Chachoengsao has two seasons; Rainy from May - October and dry season from November - April. Chachoengsao is the tidal area and this season the salinity is around 30ppt.

The Chachoengsao Coastal Fisheries research and Development Center which is under the Department of Fisheries whose duty and activities is seed production, Aquaculture raw material inspection, Aquatic animal clinic, anti-biotic residual reduction enhancement, Food safety, Code of conduct (CoC) and good Agricultural practices (GAP) program. This institution was established 22 years ago that time they produce only the Macrobrachium rosenbergii. The technology for breeding and culture set up by this office, they transfer technology to the farmers because technology is very important for commercial scale farmers. Now they change to coastal aquaculture. Now they involve the Peneaus monodon, farmers change to Banana shrimp P.Vannemi but for DOF policy not concentrated on Vannemi sp. Last time each year 20 million of banana shrimp and 50 million P.monodon PL to stock in the natural to increase natural production for the farmers. Before they stock the shrimp post larvae from the nature to increase the natural production for the farmers. But now they buy from other places because that is cheaper and fish farmers can also produce the shrimp post larvae. Now they give concentrations to farm culture more efficiently. The principle of the project is the ecological balance and close system shrimp culture. Chachoengsao is a tidal area where they have two seasons and the area is mostly acid - sulphate soil due to have many nutrients loading in 'Bang Pakong River and soil type. The objective of the fieldtrip was to see coastal aquaculture systems for shrimp culture and fish cage culture & to learn the example of technical development of environmentally low impact aquaculture.


Information was collected in February, 2006 when I visited the Chachoengsao Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Center which has developed a unique integrated culture system of Shrimp-Artemia sp. culture for low environmental impact and the shrimp production is economically beneficial. They improved several unique renovations for the culture system and also adopted the shrimp-Artemia integrated culture system from the private farm with the facilities of sea-bass cage culture in Bang Pakong River estuary.


According to the fieldtrip schedule the Chachoengsao Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Center was first visited. CFRDC have some project and the principle of that project is ecological balance and closed system shrimp culture. Due to excessive nutrient loading in 'Bang Pakong River and acid sulphate soil, the DOF center developed various systems. They have a recovery canal (surrounding canals outside pond) and also grow seaweed such as Caulera sp., Acanthophora sp. to absorb the nutrient (N and P) in water for continuous water flow in the canal. The context of the project is very simple; they culture the shrimp in the culture pond and always circulate the water to the recovery canal for 10-14 days which depends on water quality. Now, a day's nutrient loading like orthophosphate and nitrogen content is higher than 10 years ago, and is .01-.02 ppm.

This method is very much eco-friendly because in the recovery canal they are using the seaweed to absorb the nutrient from the water and again recycling the water because high nutrient is not good for aquaculture. It causes the eutrophication in natural water but in culture ponds phytoplankton concentration is often found fluctuating as a high NH3, nitride. That is why this natural method is used to recover the water quality.

CFRDC also has a shrimp culture project in a closed system. Water level outside the ponds is maintained lower than inside so that acidity goes out of the pond. If the water supply is from outside and water quality is low then water treatment is required before use. In this system no exchange of water; only add water in the pond when evaporation loss happens. They use a skimmer boat to prevent organic deposition of faecal wastes, uneaten food, dead organisms and elevated H2S in the pond bottom. Skimmer boat is used to add air in the pond bottom mud by creating small bubbles. The shrimp culture period is 4 months and use of skimmer boat three (3) times/week, which is important to maintain water quality.

Today, closed system shrimp culture is not popular because of higher establishment cost and more complex operation of the system which is difficult to adopt by the farmers. In the future closed system culture will be popular but the problem is discharge of water during the culture period to maintain the water quality.

Artemia sp. cultured in closed system at 80ppt. and also fed the Artemia. Food is prepared by collecting waste product from the farm with dead seaweed. Let that ferment inside the tank with some water to help the fermentation and then pump the liquid from fermentation tank to te Artemia pond. Salinity is maintained in this ecosystem to prevent predators. Each pond has a mixer boat to mix the sediment and a chain system to prevent the decomposed organic material from settling on the pond bottom and to break it into small particles which are helpful for the filter feeder e.g. Artemia sp.

Much shrimp culture is suffering for lack of clean seawater due to deterioration of estuarine and coastal water bodies that lead to decreasing amounts of water exchange. One reason for the wide scale adoption of low water exchange system in Thailand has been the perception that water exchange triggered disease outbreaks. There is now substantial evidence that the viral yellow head disease is transmittable in water and white spot disease is introduced via crustacean intermediates during water exchange. There is an assumption that separating the production pond from external water inputs may prevent the introduction of viral disease that has risen in the closed culture system in Thailand. In the case of fully closed systems, impacts are relatively small with respect to effluents, but the actual rearing environment is stressful as a result of high organic loadings within the ponds. By virtue of their high organic loadings, closed systems appear to encourage Dinoflagellate and blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria) blooms (e.g. Gymnodinium, Peridium, Anabaena etc). The dark brown red or purple black appearance of a pond is typical of such blooms and are considered to be stressful to the shrimp ponds.

System in Bunjong Farm:

Mr. Bunjong follows the closed system which is the same as DOF centre. He adopted the technology of Shrimp - Artemia integrated culture system. Here an air-lift system is used in every pond and the aeration cost is 1-2% from the total cost. Total area of this farm is 100 rai and the operational area is; hatchery 5 rai, treatment pond 3 rai, grow-out shrimp 20 rai, Artemia 25 rai. In the treatment pond they use seaweed and mangrove trees to absorb the high nutrients in the water. In the Artemia pond the salinity is 110ppt and the ph is 8. This pond area is acid-sulphate soil (ph-3.5), so use lime (CaO,CaCO3). Artemia feed on bacteria. Prepare artemia food by fermentation waste product in farm with dry seaweed, fesces from the toilet, and vegetables from the kitchen. Use paddle wheel to collect the Artemia. He rears Artemia 1-2 months then harvests. He also produces the Copepod. The advantage of the closed system in Bunjong Farm is

  • Reduce risk, % loss broodstock shrimp only 1% (if use water supply outside have pathogen then farmer will lose broodstock shrimp 10%)

  • Reduce operation cost due to farmer have to use water 150 m3/ day if he buy water he has to pay 25,000 bath/day but when he use close system and maintain water quality by air lift system he pay only 50,000 bath/month

  • Completely chain culture system; he can produce seed, shrimp, Artemia with this facility and getting benefit from by-product of every species that he cultures.

There are some constraints of this system such as needing more skill and knowledge for the management system and the need for large area and very difficult to transfer the technology to the farmers because most of them are small-scale farmers and they have much less area and they need efficient use of that area for higher production and they think that the closed system culture is expensive and that the shrimp price is also lower. Now most of the shrimp farmers culture the banana shrimp rather than P.monodon but the production fall down 80%. The farmer is getting 12000 baht/day from the Artemia. Before the area has disease problem but water quality problem and disease disappear.

By using this culture techniques one can earn more money easily. 700 kg of shrimp were harvested from the 2400 m2 of mangrove integrated recycle shrimp farm after being cultured for 140 days. The growth of mangrove trees (Rhyzophora sp) measured from

stem was 0.125 cm/month.

But this culture system is not adopted because shrimp farmers do not face serious problems. If they face problems then they shift the places they come to the farm to learn some techniques but do not follow them all; for example they use seaweed for their pond and put in tilapia. this case tilapia becomes larger but not beneficial for the shrimp. Some small farmers were interested and tried to make it as a group but this is never really happened.

Sea-bass cage culture:

In this culture system there were 200 farmers and 3000 cages. The culture period is seven months where the stocking density is 5000 individual/cage; and the average production is 0.9-1 ton/cage and the the size is 3.5-4 m long and depth 2 meter and the marketable size is 500 gm-1.5 kg. In this culture system there have been many problems:

  • High stocking density in cage culture

  • Low water exchange (slow water flow rate)

  • Poor water quality; Discharge waste water from urban area, agriculture area, industry when open water gate for that every year cause problems in sea bass farm.

  • Sea bass is carnivorous species and their FCR=5. Now trash fish is very costly for that they use tilapia instead of trash fish.

  • Survival rate is 50-70% but before that was 90%

  • Brood fish quality is low

  • Price of sea bass stable (100-120 bath/kg) but operation cost increase

  • Can not establish sea bass cage culture group and have competition among farmer about farm gate price

  • Sometimes faces some bacterial diseases but not too much.

  • Dependent on middleman for purchasing their product.

Interview also taken from a Sea-bass cage farmers Mr.Sutin.He explained his culture system as follows:

  • size of cage 4*3.5*2 (2= height of net) , float cage; up-down depend on tidal current

  • Stocking density: first 5,000 fish/cage then grading size and separate to other cage can not no absolutely number of stocking density and first stock only in 20 cages not in 30 cages.

  • He selects size every 1month and keeps the same size fish in one tank.

  • He feed 1time daily at the evening

  • production 0.9-1.0 tons/cage

  • When the dam open to discharge waste water from the urban area then causes low oxygen in the water and fish becomes upper level of water for gulping that time he use oxygenation .

  • After harvest every time they clean the cage.

  • buy fingerling from Songklong sub-district

  • production distribute to Talad-Bangkunthean

As he was fisherman before doing sea-bass cage culture, this cage culture gives him dignity, social status and makes him economically well-off.


Shrimp farming is now a feature of many tropical and coastal environments and affects all communities dwelling in the Vicinity. Due to the dramatic effect of shrimp farming on coastal economies, collapse of farms in an area can seriously disrupt local economies. This is often due to the loss of existing livelihoods that can not be replaced after shrimp farms are developed. Whilst it is often desirable to generate income in coastal areas, this has often been part of the expense of the inhabitants of that area. When considering coastal areas for development, it is vital that existing local economies are evaluated correctly (equitably) and strong measures are taken to avoid explosive expansion of Shrimp farms. From this field trip we learned about closed system shrimp culture systems. By using seaweed and mangrove plants it is a really good technique if it is followed for establishment in the integrated Artemia and Shrimp culture system and is not appropriate for small-scale farmers. But if the system can be established then it generates income for a long time and can earn money when another culture system has collapsed. Further studies should be continued for the integrated Artemia - Shrimp culture system.


Platon. R.2001. Mangrove Friendly Shrimp Culture Technique: Research Plan for Thailand. SEAFDEC, Aquaculture Department, Tigbauaun, Iloilo 5021, Philippines.

Simon J. Funge-Smith, Mathew R.P Briggs 1998. Nutrient budgets in intensive shrimp ponds:implications for sustainability.

Seafood — Fish — Crustacea

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