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Carbon and nitrogen budgets in shrimp ponds of extensive mixed shrimp-mangrove forestry farms in the Mekong delta, Vietnam

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 12:31 authored by Alongi, DM, Johnston, DJ, Xuan, TT
Mass balance estimates of carbon and nitrogen flux through two extensive shrimp ponds in the Mekong delta, Vietnam, were constructed to identify major sources and sinks of organic matter potentially available for shrimp production. Nutrient transformations in the sediments were measured to further assess rates of decomposition and burial and quality of organic matter. Tidal exchange was the major pathway for inputs and outputs of carbon and nitrogen in both ponds, with net primary production, nitrogen fixation and precipitation being minor inputs. No fertilizers or artificial feeds were added to either pond. The nutrient budgets identified burial and respiration as the next most important outputs after tidal exchange losses of particulate and dissolved carbon and nitrogen. There was no measurable denitrification in either pond, and NH4 + volatilization was negligible. Mineralization efficiency of carbon in the water column was high (> 100%) in pond 23 reflecting rapid respiration rates; efficiency was lower (36%) in pond 12 waters. Mineralization efficiency of sediment nutrients averaged 34% for C and 41% for N in the pond with a higher annual shrimp yield (pond 12); lower mineralization efficiencies (11% for C, 10% for N) were calculated for the lower yield pond (pond 23). High burial efficiencies for both C (66-89%) and N (59-90%) in the sediments of both ponds suggest that little organic matter was shunted into biological production. Conversion efficiency for shrimp averaged 16% for C and 24% for N from pond 12, and 6% for C and 18% for N from pond 23. The high quantity but low quality of organic matter entering the ponds coupled with other factors, such as poor water quality, limits shrimp productivity. On average, nutrient outputs were greater than inputs in both ponds. This imbalance partly explains why shrimp yields are declining in these ponds.


Publication title

Aquaculture Research










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Blackwell Science Ltd

Place of publication

Oxford, England

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Fisheries - aquaculture not elsewhere classified

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