Shrimp Welfare and Protection in the Philippines: for the Future of Aquatic Animals

Tambuyog Development Center

A growing population that wants to eat fish and shrimp is driving an increased demand for aquatic animals farmed for human consumption. This increase in Southeast Asia has had negative social and environmental impacts. The negative impact includes the uprooting of indigenous populations, pollution, and disregard for the welfare of farmed fish, shrimp, and other aquatic animals as an industry has sought to find increasingly efficient farming methods. 


In response to this crisis, Tambuyog Development Center (TDC) and World Animal Protection have partnered to launch the Shrimp Welfare and Protection Project in the Philippines. This project aims to protect farmed shrimp by improving welfare policies and practices at the production stage as well as raising awareness of shrimp welfare amongst consumers and the wider general public. It also intends to achieve sustainability by collaborating with relevant government bodies and private sectors to elevate shrimp welfare standards. 

Animal Welfare: The Missing Piece

The TDC project is founded on the premise that responsible management and practice of aquaculture production can yield greater societal benefits. Application of certification in aquaculture is considered a market-based mechanism for minimizing negative impacts and increasing societal and consumer benefits. 



Presently, the aquaculture industry is becoming more cognizant of the fact that credible certification schemes can provide an additional instrument to support responsible and sustainable aquaculture while also assuring purchasers, retailers, consumers, and civil society regarding these concerns. Although some social and environmental considerations have been incorporated into market standards, animal welfare and its substantial economic impact have been largely neglected. The endeavour of the TDC's initiative is to incorporate this missing piece. 


For the Future of Aquatic Animals

In the initial phase of the project, TDC launched an awareness and information campaign involving civil society organizations and additional stakeholders. It has also conducted research on aquaculture and shrimp welfare policies and standards at the national level.  


During the second phase of the project, TDC successfully completed a shrimp pilot farm operation that implemented and showcased a set of shrimp welfare standards. They were then able to adopt animal welfare standards in the Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative Shrimp Protocol. TDC also participated as a member expert in technical working groups led by government agencies and the Shrimp Congress and the Tilapia Congress.  


TDC plans to expand to advocate for more aquaculture species in the future. At the regional level, TDC aims to engage in a variety of local initiatives with the Southeast Asian Network in order to contribute to their national efforts to improve the welfare of aquatic animals. The hope is that a more conscientious and environmentally conscious aquaculture industry will emerge in the future, one that treats aquatic animals humanely rather than as commodities.