Information on outbreaks of notifiable shrimp diseases at the provincial level is available through the World Organization for Animal Health’s (OIE), World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS). Information on fisheries and aquaculture research is available from the Instituto Nacional de Pesca (INP). Information on the (Plan Nacional de Control (PNC) - National Control Plan is available from the INP. Information on legislation and activities concerning water quality, health management and disease control measures (including a master plan for the management of animal health emergencies) is available from government institutions (Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, AGROCALIDAD, INP) as well as a national-level Seafood Watch report.
A farm-based approach to aquaculture regulations and licensing has been adopted. The Subsecretariat of Aquaculture under the Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries (previously the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Aquaculture and Fisheries - MAGAP) is responsible for the regulation of shrimp farms (IUCN and CI Ecuador 2015). Meanwhile, the MoE is responsible for controlling and monitoring aquaculture operations and issuing environmental licenses (Thompson 2014)(Zajdband 2012).
Under the unified text of Secondary Environmental Legislation (Texto Unificado de Legislación Ambiental Secundaria), also known as TULSMA, annual updates and maps of shrimp ponds should be produced (IUCN and CI Ecuador 2015). However, these maps do not appear to be publicly available. There does not appear to be any aquaculture related information available via the Ministry of Environment (Ministerio del Ambiente, MoE) Sistema Unico de Informacion Ambiental (SUIA) or the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock's Coordination General del Sistema de Informacion Nacional (MoAL 2017)(MoE 2015).
The Ecuadorian government's most recent development strategy (Plan Nacional para el Buen Vivir 2013 - 2017) identifies twelve national objectives, several of which refer to the country’s coastal ecosystems. For example, objective 5 outlines the government’s commitment to the sustainable management of forests (including wetlands and mangroves), while objective 7 concerns environmental protection and priorities for the management of coastal and marine areas. Objective 10 concerns the promotion of sustainable production and resource use for agriculture, aquaculture, and fisheries purposes. Under objective 7, protection and priority conservation zones have been identified, several of which are located in Guayas (IUCN and CI Ecuador 2015).
The Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries has published a draft Fisheries and Aquaculture Law (Mereghetti 2017)(MoAF 2017). Article 97 under Section IV includes provisions for the creation of areas of interest for marine aquaculture based on the needs of other resource users. It adds that scientific studies should be conducted prior to the establishment of farms in these areas, although it does not indicate whether these include carrying-capacity studies.
Licensing: According to Article 54 of TULSMA, the construction of new shrimp ponds or the extension of existing farms is prohibited in mangrove ecosystems or transitional zones (IUCN and CI Ecuador 2015). According to the Environmental pollution control and prevention law (Reglamento a la ley de gestion ambiental para la prevencion y control de la contaminacion ambiental), aquaculture enterprises are required to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and produce an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) in order to obtain an environmental license (Thompson 2014)(Zajdband 2012).
Authorization/ license forms and guidelines are available from the Sub-secretariat for aquaculture’s website – including forms for marine aquaculture and farms on private land and public beach and bay areas (Sub Secretariat of Aquaculture 2018).
Water Quality: No information available.
Health Management: Under Ministerial decree 177-A; 2006, the Instituto Nacional de Pesca (INP) or National Fisheries Institute is responsible for all health and sanitary issues (Massaut and Camposano 2015). The INP is attached to the Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries and its laboratories provide research and advice on aquatic resources, ecosystem health, aquatic disease control and monitoring. This includes an aquaculture program which conducts research into marine and freshwater aquaculture (INP 2017).
Following the Ministerial Decree 98 (2008), a technical committee for import risk assessment has been formed. The committee included representatives of MAGAP, INP, the National Center for Aquaculture and Marine Research (CENAIM), and the National Aquaculture Chamber(Massaut and Camposano 2015).
Disease Control: The INP has created a National Control Plan (Plan Nacional de Control or PNC) to control the quality and safety of fishery and aquaculture products. The PNC assesses conformity along a range of sanitary parameters, including adherence to HACCP standards hygiene measures, records of food inputs and medicines, and disease contingency plans (MoAL 2017)(MAGAP and INP 2015)(Schwarz, L. 2007).
The Aquaculture Control Directorate, Undersecretariat of Aquaculture within the Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries is responsible for overseeing regulations concerning aquaculture activities (MoAF 2014). Whiteleg shrimp is one of the species listed as permitted for marine aquaculture under MAGAP Memorando No. MAGAP-INP-2015-0606-M - Actualización de lista de especies aptas para maricultura (MAGAP 2015).
Water Quality: Decree No. 3.516 (Decreto Nº 3.516 - Norma de Calidad Ambiental y de descarga de efluentes: recurso agua (Anexo I, Libro VI) sets water quality limits for the use and discharge of water in marine waterbodies (FAO 2017)(Thompson 2014).
Health Management: Following historic outbreaks of WSD from 1999 onwards, Ministerial Decree 106-27 (2002) banned the capture and use of wild shrimp larvae for shrimp farming (Massaut and Camposano 2015). Under Ministerial Decree 043 9 (2013), the import of live shrimp and products (as well as feed items and probiotics) from AHPND affected countries is banned (Latina 2013)(MoAL 2017)(Towers, L. 2013).
Research into a geographic approach to the monitoring of shrimp diseases risks, known as the Epidemiological Alert System and Aquaculture Management (SAEMA), was previously trialed in the Gulf of Guayaquil. This was based upon a comparison of average production within set grid references. The system provided monthly notifications of disease risk (green, yellow, orange and red) based on the identification of sub-optimal performance (Bayot et al. 2008)(FAO 2017). The SAEMA website is no longer available and the status of this initiative is unknown.
Disease Control: The PNC was first launched in 2006 to cover products destined for the European Union (EU), the PNC is regularly reviewed and updated, most recently in 2015 and now covers all international markets (MAGAP and INP 2015). Under MAGAP and INP's PNC producers are required to obtain certificates guaranteeing the quality and suitability of their products for export (MAGAP and INP 2015)(Schwarz, L. 2007). Any establishment found to be in non-compliance with the PNC can have their access to markets suspended until corrective actions are introduced (MAGAP and INP 2015).
Conformity with the PNC for aquaculture farms is assessed using form F05 Verificación Condiciones en Productos Acuícolas (INP 2017). Compliance points include an assessment of hygiene and sanitary measures, the use and monitoring of medicine, the presence of a traceability system and an emergency disease control plan (INP 2017).
Water Quality: Limits for a range of uses (including for livestock use and the preservation of flora and fauna – Table 3) and discharge limits (including discharge to a body of marine water – Table 13) have been set by Decree No. 3.516 - Environmental Quality Standard and discharge of effluents: water resource (FAO 2017). Adherence to these standards is monitored by the INP (Thompson 2014).
Health Management: The PNC requires operators to produce disease contingency plans (MAGAP and INP 2015). A list of diseases requiring mandatory declaration is provided by AGROCALIDAD under Resolution DAJ-2013461-0201.0214 (MAGAP and AGROCALIDAD 2013). Those applicable to shrimp production are YHD, WSD, Necrotizing hepatopancreatitis, IMNV, IHHN and Taura Syndrome (MAGAP and INP 2015). IPN conducts routine disease diagnostics on farmed shrimp via Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing for WSSV/WSD, INNV, Taura Syndrome Virus (TSV), Infectious Mionecrosis Virus (IMNV), Yellow Head Virus (YHV), Necrotizing Hepatopancreatitis Bacterium (NHP-B). The INP reports the presence of WSD, IHHN, and AHPND to the OIE. (Massaut and Camposano 2015).
Disease Control: The Servicio Ecuatoriano de Normalización (INEN) - Ecuadorian Institute for Standardization have produced - NTE INEN 184:2012 Pescados frescos refrigerados o congelados de producción acuícola. Requisitos (Requirements for Fresh fish, fresh or chilled from aquaculture production), although the content of these standards cannot be identified (INEN 2013).
The manufacturing, import, marketing and use of any products containing the antibiotics, chloramphenicol, and nitrofuran is prohibited (MAGAP and AGROCALIDAD 2016).
Industry and Management Performance
Water Quality: No information available.
Health Management: No information available.
Disease Control: No information available. Details of health and sanitary certificates issued under the PNC were previously provided by the INP as well as a list of enterprises approved to provide products to various international markets, but this information is no longer available.
Water Quality: There is no information available concerning farm’s performance against limits to discharge as outlined by the Decree No. 3.516 - Environmental Quality Standard and discharge of effluents: water resource. The shrimp farming industry in Ecuador is now characterized as “low intensity”, with 60% using low-density, extensive farming systems (GAIN 2015). Water exchange rates are low during the production cycle (1%–3%). Most ponds only discharge at harvest (Thompson 2014).
Health Management: The industry’s main forms of health management are the use of selected breeding of broodstock over several generations and the use of probiotics over chemical disease treatments (Thompson 2014).
Disease Control: Data on disease control methods and corresponding use of chemicals are not available. However, there is no indication of the presence of banned or violative substances in shrimp exports to the United States or the European Union from recent U.S Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Import Alerts or the EC Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed Portal (RASFF) (European Commission 2018)(FDA 2017).
Trends in Performance
Water Quality: Although there is no quantitative data on trends in water quality from farms, there has been a move toward semi-intensive and low-density forms of production following outbreaks of WSD in the late 1990’s (Massaut and Camposano 2015)(Thompson 2014).
Health Management: According to the OIE national disease timelines – two notifiable diseases (IHHN and WSD) have been reported in Guayas since 2005. IHHN is now listed as “limited to one or more zones” (previously listed as present), while WSD is now listed as absent (World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) 2017). AHPND has not been recorded in Ecuador (World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) 2017). However, outbreaks of this disease in Mexico have generated alerts by the INP, a contingency plan, and a ban on the entry of shrimp from affected countries (Latina 2013)(MoAL 2017)(Towers, L. 2013).
Disease Control: Broodstock selection and use of Postlarvae (PL) by the industry has resulted in greater disease resistance and a corresponding decrease in antibiotic use (Thompson 2014). The most recent “serious” notification concerning drug residues from the EC RASFF portal was in 2014 concerning the presence of nitrofurans in cooked frozen shrimp (RASFF 2014).
In March 2018, several shrimp producers launched the Sustainable Shrimp Partnership (SSP) under which members are required to achieve Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification, not use any antibiotics, guarantee traceability across the production chain, and implement best practices to minimize farms' impacts on water quality (FiS 2018)(Massaut and Camposano 2015)(SSP 2017)(Undercurrent News 2018). Compliance with the goals of the initiative is not currently available (SSP 2017).
Water Quality: The INP have launched a research program known as Investigación de los Recursos Bioacuaticos y su Ambiente (IRBA) - Research on Bio-Aquatic Resources and their Environment. The program consists of two components: 1) Elaboración y Ejecución de Proyectos (EEP) which aims to generate scientific research on fisheries, aquaculture, and the environment, and 2) the Evaluación de Proyectos, Recursos Bioacuáticos y su Ambiente (EPRBA) which aims to use this research to support decision-making and management measures for the sustainable use of fishery resources and their environment (INP 2017).
Health Management: In addition to its responsibilities under the PNC, the INP conducts shrimp farmer training to build awareness of current diseases and their impact on production as well as a campaign to prevent the introduction of AHPND (MoAL 2017)(MoAL 2017). The INP has also developed further contingency plans against AHPND (MoAL 2017). The CNA has also formed a committee to oversee the latest health information and recommend actions to reduce disease risks. Extension work is conducted through the Aquacultura magazine, workshops and conferences (Massaut and Camposano 2015).
The MAGAP and its Agencia Ecuatriana de Aseguramiento de la Calid del Agro (AGROCALIDAD) (Ecuadorian Agency for Quality Assurance of Agro) recently introduced a master plan (maestro para la gestion de emegencias santarias animales) for the management of animal health emergencies which appears to be applicable to all animal diseases (both terrestrial and aquatic) (MAGAP and AGROCALIDAD 2016). The plan outlines a range of preventative and control measures. In the case of emergency disease outbreaks, surveillance zones, tracing of infection, and the zoning of affected areas is required. (MAGAP and AGROCALIDAD 2016).
Disease Control: The CNA is currently promoting a “First Class Shrimp” Campaign to promote the Ecuadorian shrimp industry (and its use of low-density farming methods) at home and abroad (Shrimp News International 2015). Part of this approach is the antibiotic-free initiative (Kearns 2017).