WEnR07 – Sustainable Shrimp Innovations for CP group 5200042503

Geplaatst op: 29 maart 2021

Aanleiding van het project

The widespread use of open pond shrimp production systems in Thailand has resulted in periodic renewal and abandoning of production sites, which in turn has caused the destruction of 60% of its mangrove system and resulted in 1200 square kilometers of abandoned shrimp farms. Since 2012 Early Mortality Syndrome has caused losses of up to 80% of the yearly production of farms and total Thai production went down from 610.000 MT in 2010 to 250.000 Mt in 2014. Charoen Pokphand group (CP-group) is Thailands biggest producer, processor and exporter of shrimps. Through the mediation of Khoon Lim, CEO of Chungwha Plantage Handelsmij (CPHM), who is a close friend of Chairman and CEO Dhalin of CP-group, Wageningen UR has been requested to propose possible solutions for the EMS problem. In a number of meetings in 2013 and 2014 CP-group, CPHM and Wageningen UR concluded that a shift to a completely closed recirculation aquaculture system (RAS) as already applied in closed fish production, will probably be the most effective way to fight EMS. However, implementation of such new systems will take considerable initial investments on the part of the producers. To determine feasibility, a number of experiments was designed during the aforementioned meetings. Moreover, in 2014, Cargill joined the consortium because they see a great potential for a prebiotic they produce, to be applied in shrimp-based RAS.

Doel van het project

On the basis of the Wageningen UR Resource Use Efficiency paradigm the consortium wants to start a jump innovation in CP’s shrimp production by changing the current open pond system towards a recirculation aquaculture system (RAS). A RAS would enable far better veterinary controll, strong reduction of environmental emissions and water use as well as significant improvement of productivity. To show this potential, in this project 4 parallel experiments will be executed with different advanced feed formulas in experimental small RAS, that CP-group currently has in operation. The experiments will last a full outgrow period of 133 days. These goals contribute to the innovation theme’s “3.6 Water en Voedsel”, “3.9 Eco-engineering & natuire based solutions” en ” 3.11 Duurzaam gebruik van estuaria, Zeeen en oceanen” of the innovatieagenda TKI Deltatechnologie have a strong connection with Topsector Agro&Food.

Omschrijving van de activiteiten

Experiments will take place in the small-scale experiment RAS-facilities of CP Group in Thailand. The experiment will be conducted over the full shrimp outgrowth period of 133 days. The following milestones are proposed to facilitate this process: Month 1: Mission to Thailand. Startup meeting and preparation of experiments. Month 2: Mission to Thailand. Start of experiments. Expert meeting to produce overview of current state of affairs in Thai shrimp production. Month 4: Mission to Thailand. Midterm evaluation of experiments. Design workshop to elaborate roadmap for transition to RAS in shrimp production. Month 6: Mission to Thailand. Concluding evaluation of experiments. Consortium workshop to determine next steps.

Verwachte resultaten

Large scale implementation of RAS in shrimp will strongly reduce the space demand and negative effects on the aquatic eco- and coastal defence systems that this sector currently has by using the open ponds. A shift towards closed systems (RAS) will therefore greatly enhance opportunities to relieve and restore aquatic ecosystems. Dutch know-how and technology such as helophyte filtration and the building with nature approach will be able to support ecosystem restoration of these and abandoned ponds. For the large scale application of RAS, on the other hand, CP will need to apply among others greenhouse and controlled climate technologies and algae-filtering; businesses in which the Netherlands is leading. If the results of the experiments are positive, CP-group will start implementation of RAS-systems on commercial scale, for which CPHM and Cargill will become providers of essentail feed components. CP group will apply the RAS in other countries where they are active, like Chine, Vietnam and India. Because it is market leader in shrimp, it’s transition to a resource use efficient system will force other parties to do the same.


RAS are currently applied in fish production but only incidently in shrimp and only on an experimental base. Succesfull experiments in this project show the way to a major change in the sustainability and quality standards of shrimp production. Moreover, given the dominant position of CP group in the market, these new standards are likely to also be adopted by other players. CP-group is known to be an innovator in itself but also builds a big part of its success being an early adaptor of technologies in food production from industrialized countries. It is working towards closed systems and integrated chains in its other food business such as poultry, egg and pork production. Success in the present experiment will also strengthen the position of Wageningen UR as co-innovator for the other activities of CP-group. Cargill is expanding its business with feed provision for the aquasector, thereby introducing plant-based proteins and cereal-based prebiotics as alternative for fish meal.


Knowledge is owned by Wageningen UR, according to general terms of Wageningen UR. It is foreseen that CP-group will be the first party to valorise the kwowledge. They have the power to invest and implement the necessary innovations that are expected to follow rapidly, its competitors will be forced to adopt similar practices to stay in business. General results of the experiments will be confidential for a period (duration to be agreed during the first project meeting, max 1 years) and will be published in general afterwards. Wageningen UR will ensure that its advisory role in this innovation will be explicitly communicated by all parties. Once the advantages of the RAS have been proven on commercial scale, the open pond system can be abandoned and activities to undo its negative consequences can be started. Government support and legislation can play an important role here.