Shrimp farms will be in charge of the reforestation of mangroves. (Photo: Stock File/FIS)
Shrimp farmers manage to recover mangroves
Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 16:30 (GMT + 9)
Through the reforestation plan, the Ecuadorian shrimp industry managed to recover 1.6 per cent of the total area of the existing mangroves in 1999.
According to figures from the latest report of the Centre for Integrated Natural Resource Mapping by Remote Sensing (Clirsen), the mangrove reached an increase of 2,500 hectares, representing 1.6 per cent of the total area recorded in 1999 (about 148,483 ha).
While shrimp farmers are seen as responsible for the depredation, now they seem to be the most committed to the mangrove recovery and to logging control.
This is because they became aware of the crucial role played by mangroves in water quality, the stability of the coastline and mainly, in the control exercised in the distribution of nutrients, which may even improve the quality of shrimp, Diario Hoy reported.
But this change also stems from the Fisheries and Fisheries Development Act, passed in 2008, which established the renewal of license agreements for the shrimp firms.
Then, the shrimp farm regularization project established the verification of the licenses of beaches, bays and areas granted to the shrimp firms in the coastal region of Ecuador (Esmeraldas, Manabí, Guayas and El Oro), which have occupied a larger area than that granted by law.
Besides, the assessment for the approval of mangrove reforestation plans was arranged for those shrimp farms that have breached the limits set by the license and also the eviction of those shrimp farms settled or expanded in protected areas, framed by the provisions of the 1391 Decree.
The decree sets a regularization of the status of shrimp producers carrying out the activity in the areas of the mangroves and forces them to comply with a reforestation plan.
Thanks to the bill, shrimp farms with an area of 10 hectares must be in charge of the reforestation of 10 per cent of the mangroves. Meanwhile, those covering between 11 and 50 hectares must be in charge of 20 per cent, and those covering an area between 51 and 25 hectares, are responsible for the reforestation of 30 per cent. Everything must be performed in periods of up to one year.
Last week, the Undersecretary of Marine and Coastal Management, Silvia del Campo, along with technicians from the department and from the Provincial Directorate of Environment of El Oro, conducted an inspection of the reforested areas and checked the compliance with the process required by the 1391 Decree .
27 per cent of the existing area of mangroves in 1987 was lost by 1999 due to indiscriminate logging as a consequence of the expansion of the agricultural border, of aquaculture development and of wood collection as well as of urban sprawl.
By Silvina Corniola