The project addressed the following questions through a range of methodological approaches that enabled to comprehend the complexity of the linkages and document the sustainability issues at stake.
- What is the impact of aquaculture development on the resilience of the social-ecological systems studied? This was addressed by piloting a resilience approach on Samroyiot, in Prachuap Kiri Khan Province, where small shrimp producers are organised in clusters and located in the vicinity of a Ramsar site and National Park.
- How to account for ecosystem values and stakeholder preferences in decisions related to the development or conservation of coastal areas? This was addressed through the development of a Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) as a decision-support system (DSS) involving the opinions of international and Thai shrimp aquaculture experts and the use of both data from both secondary sources and the two sites to populate the network and quantify the trade-offs associated with a range of shrimp farm management scenarios.
- What is the potential for payment for ecosystem services (PES) in the context of shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) farming development? In order to assess this potential and figure out “how much” farmers should be paid to implement more environmentally-friendly shrimp production practices, an approach based on the calculation of opportunity costs associated with different management options was used. Secondary and primary data from the site of Samroyiot and from a second site in Surat Thani Province (an intensive shrimp production area) was used. This was further supported by an analysis of the institutional arrangements needed to support the implementation of PES in coastal areas of Thailand.
- Do better management practices (BMPs) have an impact on the sustainability of production systems and value chains? To address this question, a comparative analysis of value chains was piloted, using primary data collected from farmers at both sites (questionnaires).
The project developed partnerships with local shrimp farmers and stakeholders in the country: the Coastal Resources Institute (CORIN-ASIA), the Network of Aquaculture Centers in Asia and the Pacific (NACA), and with SeaFresh Ltd, and Thai shrimp exporter and AquaStar Ltd, a UK-based shrimp importer.