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Overfishing threatens shrimp industry: FAO

Shrimp, an important source of income for developing countries, is increasingly threatened by overfishing, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned.

business Updated: Feb 17, 2009 23:21 IST

Shrimp, an important source of income for developing countries, is increasingly threatened by overfishing, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned on Tuesday.

Overfishing of shrimp in turn degrades ecologically important seagrass beds and coastal habitats, the Rome-based UN agency said in a report titled "The Global Study of Shrimp Fisheries."

Shrimp is a leading fishery product, generating total annual revenues of USD 10 billion or 16 per cent of the global fishery market, the report said.

"For millions of poor vulnerable households, shrimp fishing is an important source of cash and employment," said Jeremy Turner, chief of the FAO's fishing technology service.

Shrimp's economic importance should be reconciled, however, with concern over the environmental impacts of shrimp fishing, the report said.

Turner warned against "overfishing, capture of juveniles of ecologically important and economically valuable species, coastal habitat degradation, illegal trawling, the destruction of seagrass beds and conflicts between artisanal and industrial fisheries."

The FAO report advocated a "precautionary and ecosystem approach," adding: "Shrimp fishing, including shrimp trawling, is certainly manageable.