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March 29, 2015


Shrimp Farms Good for Bird Conservation


From Abstract: During the last three decades, shrimp farming has expanded in northwest Mexico, prompting conservation concern for the bird populations that spend the nonbreeding period (October to March) in the region.  In this study, researchers conducted a series of bird counts and behavioral observations to evaluate the importance of a shrimp farm as foraging area for shorebirds, relative to adjacent intertidal areas.  The study was conducted in 2012 and 2013 during and after the shrimp harvest at a tropical wetland in Sinaloa, Mexico.  Overall, low tide counts within the entire wetland had an average of 3,168 shorebirds during the shrimp harvest period (October–November).  That figure dropped to 1,408 birds following the shrimp harvest (December to January), when shrimp ponds were emptied and foraging opportunities were reduced.  During the harvesting period, black-necked stilt, American avocet, willet and whimbrel selected shrimp ponds over intertidal areas for foraging during low tide, while marbled godwit, western sandpiper and dowitchers did not.  These results suggest that shrimp farms can provide ephemeral but important complementary foraging areas for shorebirds.


Source: Estuaries and Coasts.  A Potential Role of Shrimp Farms for the Conservation of Nearctic Shorebird Populations.  Juan G. Navedo (email, Instituto de Ciencias Marinas y Limnológicas, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Campus Isla Teja, Valdivia, Chile), Guillermo Fernández, Juanita Fonseca and Mark C. Drever.  Volume 38, Issue 3, Pages 836-845, May 1, 2015.

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