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Prawn, King (whiteleg), prawns

Litopenaeus vannamei

Method of production - Farmed
Production country - Global
Production method - Pond Systems, GlobalGAP certified
Accreditation - GlobalGap
Fish type - Shellfish

Sustainability rating To be Assessed

Sustainability overview

GlobalGap certification standards for the production of warm water prawns defines and enforces production standards to address many issues of concern. Intensive prawn/shrimp farming is associated with a number of negative environmental impacts which are of concern, these include: Impacts on ecologically sensitive habitats ; the risk of salinisation of freshwater bodies; discharge of organic matter and nutrients leading to environmental changes; use of chemicals and therapeutics in production and the potential of disease transfer between farmed and wild prawns. Marine prawns are carnivorous requiring high protein inclusion on their diet, this is one of the most critical concerns regarding prawn farming as the supply of fishmeal and fish-oil being used is, in general not traceable to species level and is not certified sustainable. They are also concerns regarding the current regulatory framework and level of enforcement for aquaculture production in some areas.


The king prawn (or whiteleg prawn, white shrimp) belongs to the largest of the prawn and shrimp family, the Penaeidae. It is a native species of the Eastern Pacific coast. Its lifecycle may be divided into 6 stages or phases, from embryo to adult, which it completes in one year. The age of sexual maturity varies from 5 to 7 months. They can live up to 2 years in the wild although farmed prawns are usually harvested at 6 months.

Stock information

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Stock information


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Production method

Pond Systems, GlobalGAP certified

Prawn /shrimp are farmed in saline/brackish water ponds of various sizes and intensities in many parts of the world, either in coastal areas or inland within or outside the intertidal zone. Intensive pond farming has a higher stocking density of prawns and requires the use of inputs such as feed and therapeutants as opposed to traditional extensive systems.

Read the MCS Aquaculture policy position paper

FAO (2006) Penaeus vannamei. Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme. Text by Briggs, M. In: FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department [online]. Rome. Updated 7 April 2006. [Cited 1 September 2016].

Tacon AGJ, Metian M (2015) Feed Matters: Satisfying the Feed Demand of Aquaculture. Rev Fish Sci Aquac 23:1-10
Tacon AGJ, Metian M (2008) Global overview on the use of fish meal and fish oil in industrially compounded aquafeeds: Trends and future prospects. Aquaculture 285:146-158

GGAP V5.0 (2016) Global Gap Farm Assurance, All Farm Base- Aquaculture Module, Control Points and Compliance Criteria, English Version 5.0, Edition 5.0- 02 July 2016, Obligatory From 01 July 2016.

GGAP (2016) Global Gap Compound Feed Manufacturing, General Rules, Addendum to Global Gap General Regulations, English Version 2.2, Valid from 01 August 2016.

Thitamadee, S., Prachumwat, A., Srisala, J., Jaroenlak, P., Salachan, P.V., Sritunyalucksana, K., Flegel, T.W. and Itsathitphaisarn, O., 2016. Review of current disease threats for cultivated penaeid shrimp in Asia. Aquaculture, 452, pp.69-87

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