Michael Hoffmann, professor of entomology and a Cornell University’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future Fellow, says Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s decision to boost shrimp exports is a smart way to help Vietnam capitalize on climate change.
In January, Hoffman led a team of students to Vietnam to study climate change and its implications, not only globally but also how it has impacted the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, one of the most at risk areas in the world.
“Salt water intrusion, in part the result of rising sea levels, is an increasing problem in Vietnam so the switch from farming salt sensitive rice to shrimp makes sense. There is also a much greater economic return with shrimp farming.
“As the Vietnamese shrimp industry expands it will be important to carefully consider the economic benefits and potential environmental costs, including additional contributions of greenhouse gases.
“New projections indicate that global sea level rise could reach 6 feet by the end of this century, essentially flooding much of the Mekong Delta and home to 17 million people.
“We saw extensive shrimp farming operations during a recent visit to the Mekong Delta and one of the more intriguing approaches is the integration of shrimp aquaculture with mangrove forests.”
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