Semi-intensive shrimp farming

The Philippines were the first to develop the culture of several prawn and shrimp species in the 1980’s after which the country was at the front of shrimp aquaculture with thousands of hectares of brackish water ponds constructed for this purpose. However, when disease struck most of these ponds were abandoned. Measures are currently being taken by the Bureau of Fishery and Aquaculture Resources (BFAR) to promote and revitalize the shrimp aquaculture business. The availability of numerous empty ponds and the disease free status of the country provides a great opportunity for investors in the Philippine shrimp industry. Except for the capital region, Penaeus monodon is farmed in all regions throughout the country. Nowadays, approximately 6,000 hectares are solely used for the farming of P. monodon and is expected to increase.

Key features
Average stocking density

20 – 50 PL/m2

Average productivity

9 – 12 tonnes/ha/year

# of crops per year


# of days per crop


Harvesting season

All year round

Type of farmer

Small-scale farms and corporate farms

Potential risks
  • Pollution of local waters from pond effluents
  • On some occasions mangrove forest is cut

Type of farmers

Most farmers operate one or two ponds as a family business and these farmers tend to be not very well organized. Export oriented businesses operate large amounts of ponds, ranging from 50 to a few a few hundred hectares.

Production and harvesting system

Semi-intensive pond farming use a monoculture system. Average pond sizes range between 2500m2  to 2 hectare. Most farmers employ a partial water exchange system using tidal rhythms.

In all provinces P. monodon are harvested year round. It takes an average of 160 days for the shrimp to reach 35 grams. Shrimp are typically harvested all at once using a net when the ponds are drained. The survival rate lies between 80 and 90%.

Stocking densities and productivity

In all provinces, P. monodon are stocked year round with the exception of the first few weeks of the rainy season. Stocking density of the ponds is around 20-50 PL per m2. Planned harvesting sizes influences stocking density; if one wants to grower bigger fish the stocking density must be reduced. Average annual productivity lies between 9 – 12 tonnes per hectare.

Use of seed, feed and other inputs

Post larvae (PL) can be sourced from a number of hatcheries throughout the country. Some farmers buy PL’s that have been sourced from the wild. In this type of shrimp farming systems no nurseries are used as this increases mortality. Most operators using semi-intensive pond systems use a combination of natural feeds and commercial pellet feeds. Monoculture farms tend to feed the shrimp with pellet feeds 3 to 4 times a week. Very few other chemicals are used as these are not readily available in the Philippine market. The feed conversion ratio is around 1: 1.4 – 1.6.