Shrimp Aquaculture and Olive Production: Sustainable Integration

Project Number: 
Project Duration: 
29 months
May 1, 2001 to September 30, 2003
Institution of Principle Investigator while on this project: 
University of Arizona

Investigators (most current known information)

Research Scientist, The University of Arizona, 2601 E. Airport Drive, Tucson AZ 85706
TEL: +1-520-626-3324, FAX: +1-520-573-0852, Email:

Proposal Abstract

As we have come to depend on aquaculture to supplement natural fisheries, intensive culture methods have increased production. Accompanying environmental damage – non-point source pollution, loss of biodiversity and struggle for water – has offset food and financial gains. Problems surrounding food production are amplified in arid lands, as the potential of irrigated agriculture is weighed against the value of water. Through the following research, we studied integration of aquaculture and agriculture through multiple uses of water and nutrients, to reduce environmental impacts. When managed properly, integration can provide multiple cash crops, increased food and fiber production with reduced inputs.

Integration allows for groundwater and nutrients in water and solid waste to be reused. Shrimp farms in Arizona use low-salinity ground water from aquifers for shrimp ponds and agricultural irrigation. On one of these farms, effluent is reused for irrigation of olive trees and other field crops. We quantified changes in the height of olive trees due to irrigation with shrimp effluent. Trees receiving effluent grew an average of 61.0 cm over the two-year experiment, 70.4 cm with fertilizer and 48.4 cm in the well water treatment. Leaf nutrients were similar among all treatments. Soil salinity did not increase with effluent irrigation. No negative effects due to effluent irrigation were found, while increases in water use efficiency were realized by producing two crops with the same irrigation water.

We also investigated the reuse of solid waste produced by shrimp farming through integration with field crops in a greenhouse study. We examined responses of tomato production when grown in pots with varying amounts of shrimp sludge. Despite the low levels of nutrients in the solid shrimp waste, tomato production was higher with sludge additions of 10% and 20% by soil volume, 805 and 1,610 g/plant, respectively (F 3 , 24 =7.84, p = 0.0008, one-way ANOVA).


No outcomes reported


Support for this project came from the USDA Forest Service