Sunday, June 8, 2008

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Gulf of Guayaquil

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Guayaquil is Ecuador's largest city and primary sea port. It is located on the Guayas river, which empties into the huge Gulf of Guayaquil along the country's southern coastline. Throughout the Gulf, mangroves have been steadily converted to shrimp aquaculture ponds for producing farmed shrimp. In a 15-year period, coastal area developed for shrimp aquaculture grew by approximately 30 per cent, from 90 000 hectares in 1984 to 118 000 hectares in 2000 (CLIRSEN 2000). Roughly 70 per cent of Ecuador's shrimp farming activities are located in the Gulf of Guayaquil. In this pair of satellite images, the loss of mangroves and growth of the aquaculture industry can be seen along the coast and in the altered dendritic patterns (branching like a tree) of coastal waterways, especially those on the large island of Puna. Mangroves provide fish breeding grounds and wildlife habitat, act as natural barriers against storm surge, and filter groundwater. Converting mangroves to aquaculture ponds has wide-reaching environmental implications. View detailed information

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