Knowledge and innovation relationships in the shrimp industry in Thailand and Mexico

Louis Lebel, Po Garden, Amy Luers, David Manuel-Navarrete, Dao Huy Giap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Experts, government officials, and industry leaders concerned about the sustainability of shrimp aquaculture believe they know what farmers need to know and should be doing. They have framed sustainability as a technical problem that, at the farm level, is to be solved by better shrimp and management of ponds and businesses. Codes of conduct, standards, and regulations are expected to bring deviant practices into line. Shrimp farmers are often cornered in a challenging game of knowledge in which their livelihoods are at stake. In the commodity chain there are multiple relations with both suppliers and buyers, not all of which are trustworthy. The social networks shrimp farmers belong to are crucial for sifting out misinformation and multiplying insights from personal experience in learning by doing. Successful farmers become part of a learning culture through seminars, workshops, and clubs in which knowledge and practices are continually re-evaluated. The combination of vertical and horizontal relationships creates a set of alternative arenas that together are critical to bridging knowledge and action gaps for shrimp farmers. Government and industry initiatives for improving links between knowledge and practice for sustainability have largely succeeded when incentives are aligned: shrimp grow better in healthy environments, and using fewer resources means higher profits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4585-4590
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 26 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Knowledge system
  • Learning
  • Shrimp aquaculture
  • Social networks
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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