Impact of Shrimp Farm Effluent on Water Quality in Coastal Areas of the World Heritage-Listed Ha Long Bay

Thuyet Bui, Jim Luong-Van, Chris Austin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Problem statement: Shrimp farming has rapidly developed in coastal areas of the World Heritage-listed Ha Long Bay since the last decade. Effluent discharged from shrimp farms with high levels of nutrient waste may cause eutrophication in receiving waterways. Therefore, assessing water quality at tidal creeks receiving shrimp farm effluent in coastal areas of Ha Long Bay supports environmental protection and decision making for sustainable development of the region. 
    Approach: Water samples were collected at 3 different locations for spatial assessment: inside sections of creeks directly receiving farm effluent (IEC), from main creeks adjacent to points of effluent discharge outside concentrated shrimp farms (OEC) and a few kilometers away from shrimp farm (ASF). Samples were taken on 3 occasions for temporal assessment. Parameters related to nutrient waste from shrimp farms, including: Total Ammonia Nitrogen (TAN), Nitrite-Nitrogen (NO2-N), Nitrate-Nitrogen (NO3-N), Total Phosphorus (TP), Dissolved Orthophosphate (PO4-P), Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Total Suspended Solid (TSS), Chlorophyll-a (Chl-a), Temperature, Salinity, pH and Dissolved Oxygen (DO) were determined using standard methods. 
    Results: There were statistically significant differences in the concentrations of TAN, NO2-N, NO3-N, TP, PO4-P, BOD, COD and Chl-a among IEC, OEC, ASF and the levels of these parameters increased after shrimp crops, especially after the main shrimp crop of the season in North Vietnam. The concentrations of TAN, NO3-N, TP, BOD, COD, Chl-a, TSS at IEC sites were higher than recommended for protecting aquatic ecosystems. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) efficiently summarized patterns of co-variation in water quality parameters among locations and study times. 
    Conclusion/Recommendations: The findings of this study indicate that greater awareness of the environmental impacts of shrimp farms is required if this industry is to be sustainable and if the highly valued marine ecosystem of Ha Long Bay is to be protected for the future. 
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)104-116
    Number of pages13
    JournalAmerican Journal of Environmental Sciences
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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