Sulaiman Jalil is seeing the best shrimp in years.
A man casting his net to catch shrimp in Calang, Indonesia
As a shrimp farmer in the village of Teupok Teunong, along the north coast of Indonesia, his shrimp used to be small and of poor quality because of disease. But now, thanks to better management practices introduced by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the American Red Cross, Jalil is seeing bigger, healthier shrimp.
"I am very happy because this year my shrimp grew well and I harvested over 500 kilos (1,100 pounds) from my one pond, as well as a lot of milkfish," said Jalil.
"I did not realize I also have to manage the water quality in the pond. And now, I no longer use dangerous pesticides to control predators in my pond."
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed over a quarter of a million people, also left millions homeless and unemployed. Shrimp exports account for almost 20% by value of total global seafood exports. In Indonesia, 118,700 acres of aquaculture operations, such as ponds and hatcheries, were destroyed or damaged by the tsunami.
Healthy shrimp raised in Calang, Indonesia
The American Red Cross has worked with several organizations and agencies, including the FAO, to help people get back to work.
"The American Red Cross teamed up with the FAO in 2007 to help rehabilitate the fisheries sector that was severely affected by the tsunami," said Gerald Anderson, senior director of the American Red Cross Tsunami Recovery Program. "We're excited to see the results of this partnership, because it translates into an improved livelihood for these communities."
With financial support from the American Red Cross, and environmental input from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the FAO is providing technical assistance, capacity development and skills training for fishing and fish farming communities that were affected by the tsunami, as well as for the staff of the district and provincial fisheries administration.
By focusing on longer-term planning, better management, and improved post-harvest fish handling and marketing practices, the three-year project is helping people harvest more seafood, thus increasing their income while promoting better, more sustainable practices.
"It's an innovative example of transition from rehabilitation to development," said Sylvie Wabbes-Candotti, operations officer for the Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation Division of the FAO.
Over the next few months, the FAO and the American Red Cross are exploring ways to replicate this program to help more fishermen produce healthier fish in the future.
In 1999 FAO with WWF, the World Bank, and the Network of Aquaculture Centers in Asia-Pacific (NACA) formed the Consortium on Shrimp Farming and the Environment to identify and address the negative social and environmental impacts of shrimp farming. Shrimp farming impacts can include mangrove destruction, depletion of wild shrimp stocks, marginalization of local people, and pollution of coastal waters. The Consortium found that better management practices minimize many of the negative impacts of shrimp farming.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.