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Ecuador shrimp farming areas at risk from El Niño. In Ecuador, more than 50% of shrimp hectares are located in flood-prone areas in the provinces of Guayas, Santa Elena, Manabí, El Oro and Esmeraldas. The National Chamber of Aquaculture, through its Environment Directorate, estimates that around 110,000 hectares are at imminent risk due to the arrival of the El Niño Phenomenon.

The HIGH impact areas are:

  • Emeralds: San Lorenzo Atacames and Muisne.
  • Manabí:Pedernales, San Vicente and Bahía.
  • Santa Elena:Atahualpa, Chanduy, San José de Antón.
  • Guayas: Beaches, Guayaquil, Samborondón, Yaguachi, Naranjal and Balao.
  • El Oro:El Guabo, Machala, Santa Rosa, Arenillas and Huaquillas.

The danger is latent because the shrimp farms are located very close to different bodies of water, because this is required by the aquaculture activity that uses water resources for their crops; Therefore, the entire shrimp sector is at risk, whether high, medium or low, depending on the intensity and permanence of the Phenomenon.

According to official information, technicians from ERFÉN, the organisation in charge of studying the El Niño Phenomenon in Ecuador, announced that it will possibly arrive in the country on November 15; following the results obtained on the voyage of the scientific research vessel Orión of the Ecuadorian Navy that collected data at 57 stations from the continent to the Galapagos Islands. On the other hand, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of NOAA of the United States indicates a probability between 75%-85% that the intensity is strong.

The aquaculture organisation, CNA, asks members of the shrimp sector to adopt measures to mitigate the impact of this anomalous climatic event, according to the particularities of each shrimp farm, laboratory, processing plant or balancing plant. Therefore, the following measures are recommended:

  1. Walls in the shrimp farms.
    1. Check the condition of the retaining walls and reinforce those that need it with sediment or sandbags.
  2. Dangerous materials
    1. Verify correct storage (Roof, waterproof bucket to contain 110% of the liquid in case of spills).
  3. Vector and pest control
    1. Cleaning the solids retention mesh.
    2. Rodent traps.
    3. Insect fumigation.
  4. Storage
    1. The storage area for (supplies, common waste, hazardous waste) must remain clean and prevent the ingress of water, verifying the condition of the roofs (leaks), buckets (waterproofed), containers (without cracks), and the state of the entrance walls if they exist.
    2. It is essential that the stored material be placed on a pallet that prevents contact with the ground, in the event of flooding.
    3. Common or hazardous waste should not be disposed of or stored outdoors.
  5. Staff
    1. Keep staff informed about the measures they should take in the event of cloudy water or sediment, detection of red tide and first aid.
  6. Electrical installations
    1. All electrical installations must be checked and repaired.

CNA says:

“These measures are essential to protect both the facilities and the workers, thus ensuring the preparation of the shrimp sector for this anomalous weather event. It is worth emphasizing that these recommendations have been disseminated in greater detail in two previous bulletins issued by the Environment Directorate of the CNA to its members, during the month of May and July.

For its part, the CNA is coordinating with the competent authorities (Prefectures and Mayor’s Offices) the execution of emerging works to mitigate risks, taking into account the serious impact on the economy and employment in Ecuador if the country’s main economic activity is seriously affected.”