Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


International Studies (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Richard Weisskoff

Second Committee Member

Bruce M. Bagley

Third Committee Member

Ambler H. Moss

Fourth Committee Member

Daniel O. Suman


A socio-economic impact study was conducted in Aguadulce, Panama to analyze the viability of the shrimp aquaculture industry. Two visits in 2004 and 2010 document the changes the industry underwent through the use of a survey and interviews of knowledgeable informants. Interviews were conducted among field and processing plant employees, managers and owners, government officials, and local artisanal fishermen. It was of relevance to understand the viability of this industry at both the town and country level. Changes are evident when comparing the data. The industry has undergone drastic changes resulting from the spread of White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) and the reduced price paid for shrimp in the international market. Job generation will never reach the levels anticipated in the 1980s and 1990s. The industry is no longer viable for small subsistence shrimp farms in Aguadulce and Panama. The survival of this industry for Panama is based on the production of shrimp for a small niche market that desires an organically raised and environmentally sustainable shrimp which consumers are willing to pay a higher price. The survival of this industry will be based on the price consumers are willing to pay for a better product with stringent certification guidelines in comparison to those from Asia.


shrimp aquaculture; Panama; Aguadulce; aquculture