Mangroves and Markets (MAM I & II)

This project is active

Vietnam has lost half of its mangroves over the past 30 years, primarily as a result of the expansion of rice production areas and more recently clearing for shrimp ponds. The profitability of shrimp exports in recent years has encouraged thousands of farmers in the deltas of Ca Mau province in Vietnam to convert from rice farming to intensive shrimp aquaculture—the fastest-growing food source globally. Due to rapid expansion and insufficient environmental standards, the deltas of Ca Mau are now pockmarked with failed shrimp ponds, abandoned because of high costs and decreasing returns due to erosion, pollution, and shrimp disease.

The development of shrimp aquaculture in Vietnam at the expense of the mangrove environment has serious consequences, as mangroves protect against tidal waves and storm surges; they are vital fish nursery-grounds; provide timber, honey, and other products; and raise land levels by trapping sediment. They also have high carbon content and the total carbon storage is very high relative to most forest types. Healthy mangroves thus make important contributions to both climate change adaptation and mitigation. The Mangroves and Markets (MAM) project aimed to reverse mangrove loss, reduce carbon emissions and promote mangrove restoration while supporting community resilience under climate change.

SNV and co-implementer IUCN have taken up the challenge with the MAM project to integrate ecologically sound shrimp aquaculture in the mangrove environment of Ca Mau. The project was implemented between September 2012 and February 2016 and funded by the German Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). In alliance with shrimp importers, traders and farmers and their families, MAM provided training on breeding and marketing certified organic shrimp, supported replanting and management of the mangrove forest, mobilized access for shrimp farmers to certified markets through inclusive business, and build links to potential carbon financing.

The MAM project utilises a shrimp farming model that integrates the farms into the mangrove ecosystems to reduce pollution and disease. These extensive, low-input shrimp farms require at least 50-percent mangrove cover and have much lower management costs than intensive farms. They are more sustainable for the small-scale shrimp farmers who make up the majority of shrimp producers. As traditional shrimp farms do not have the high yields of intensive aquaculture, access to stable and profitable markets is important for their long-term sustainability. Organic certification offers access to better export markets, providing shrimp farmers with a price premium and strengthening small-scale shrimp aquaculture. MAM selected global standard Naturland as the most suitable organic certification that requires mangrove conservation. With organic shrimp certification in place, MAM guided farmers in negotiating a favorable purchase agreement with Minh Phu, the world’s second-largest seafood processor by shrimp export value. The farmers can sell their certified shrimp to Minh Phu Seafood Corporation with an additional income of VND 3,000/kg. Furthermore, the project successfully supported Ca Mau in the establishment of the provincial decision on piloting a Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) system. This system provides an incentive for mangrove conservation and restauration by paying farmers and additional VND 500,000/ha of mangrove for ecosystem services (PES).

The following results contributed to the broader goals of mangrove restoration and protection, and improvements in coastal livelihoods:

  • Certification and market linkages: After 2 years of trainings and technical and financial support for 1,900 farmers, a first wave of 741 shrimp farmers (2,695 ha) have officially been certified. Direct links have been established between the certified farmers and the Minh Phu Seafood Corporation. This agreement ensures secured market access for certified farmers and a bonus for their efforts, as part of the Ecosystem Services Payment for service providers.
  • Mangrove replanting and protection: Strict certification requirements, combined with capacity development and increased environmental awareness among farmers, have resulted in mangrove reforestation and protection in the project area. The MAM project trained and facilitated 1,000 households on improved waste management facilities, which forms a key element of these environmental management plans. About 400 households who have not reached 40% forest covers have been supported for mangrove replanting (80ha) in their farms.
  • Development of an enabling policy environment: Through stakeholder meetings, the MAM project has facilitated a participatory decision-making process to create provincial guidelines to assist the private sector in developing certification projects that will both benefit the company and involved farmers. In addition, the project supported Ca Mau in developing a provincial vision regarding mangrove conservation and enhancing shrimp farmer livelihoods. Moreover, the project has contributed to provide a pilot site to support the development of a national PFES (Payment for Forest Ecosystem Services) policy that provides sustainable management of mangrove forests.


Key facts



Work with shrimp importers, traders & farmers to introduce ecologically sound shrimp production in areas of high deforestation & degradation, bringing jobs and improving income opportunities in local communities, while reducing pressure on mangrove areas.


Restoration of mangroves in the coastal protection zone with a focus on abandoned shrimp farms. Replicate results through the drafting and introduction of national policy that provides the legal basis for Mangrove Payment for Environmental Services (PES)


Review policy on integrated and sustainable shrimp aquaculture in mangroves for national and provincial laws and regulations


Organic farming training for
Shrimp farmers
Replanting of
80 hectares
of mangrove forest
Provincial regulation for PES payments
PES policy
Protection of
7000 ha
Mangrove forest
“All the farmers have put what they learned into practice, which led to higher productivity and incomes“ Tran Quoc Van, Shrimp Farmer Group Leader


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