The Development of Aquaculture in Central Thailand: Domestic Demand versus Export-Led Production


  • The authors gratefully acknowledge input and support from Warren Turner, Kamtorn Kaewpaitoon, Peter Edwards, John Hambrey, James Young, Jonathan Rigg, and the Department for International Development's Aquaculture and Fish Genetics Research Programme.

Ben Belton and David Little, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, UK. e-mails: and


Expansion of aquaculture in Central Thailand since the 1970s is intimately linked to growth in other sectors of the local and national economy, and to participation in global trade. Thailand's agro-industrialization has led to the diversification of agriculture in the Central Region and the co-development of aquaculture. Production of domestic aqua-products is largely positive for consumers, farmers and the environment. By contrast, intensive production of shrimp for export has been characterized by periods of boom and bust resulting from disease outbreaks and international competition. At the farm level this has translated into surges of profit followed by overcapitalization, debt and environmental degradation.