Aaron Boddy

Chief Impact Officer @ Shrimp Welfare Project
542 karmaJoined Oct 2020Working (6-15 years)



Co-founder of Shrimp Welfare Project, which aims to improve the lives of billions of farmed shrimps


Topic Contributions

Hey Eric, this comment thread popped into my head today :) Are you able to share the list of relevant-to-EA video and board games at this time? I'm just super curious to know what they are and try some out!

Hi all - one of the co-founders of Shrimp Welfare Project (and a co-author of this report) here :) 

Unfortunately, Lucas, our Research Lead (and primary author of this report), will be leaving the team at the end of April. We are sad to see him go and are thankful for all the great work he has done within Shrimp Welfare Project. 

We are therefore looking for a new Research Lead to take over from April, before Lucas leaves, so that he can pass on all relevant information! If you are interested, you can find out more here. Applications can be submitted until February 17!

One of the co-founders from Shrimp Welfare Project here :) 

I agree - it was a real priority for us to not have a curled shrimp in our logo (which was tricky!) for this reason. And you're right, most shrimps that are farmed are whiteish or brownish (though there are over 2,000 species of shrimps, and some are very colourful!). Finally, as an alternative to the "go vegan" message that could accompany it, you could also explore an "expanding the moral circle" message (though as it's been noted previously with the "do good better" message, that this could come off as preachy without context).

I'd be happy to share the shrimp we used in our logo if you wanted to use that instead, though I don't want this to seem like we're pitching Shrimp Welfare Project specifically rather than shrimp welfare in general :) 

Hey there!

I've only recently finished the book, so don't have much advice regarding putting the principles into practice unfortunately... though hopefully someone else does and can comment here too :)  

A lot of the Principles relate to managing a bigger organisation than mine... Having said that I am trying to implement more robust decision tracking etc. in my org based on the ideas of thinking of your organisation as an optimisation "machine" to achieve a goal (and some of the suggestions he has in the book of how to do that)

The reason I pulled this out as a list though is that I find it really valuable just being able to see the key 20 principles as the section headers, then I can dig down into the sub-principles if I need a reminder

Happy to chat more but please don't think of me as the Principles guru, just someone who wanted an on-the-go reference/refresher :)

No problem, these are great questions!

And yes that's true, each stakeholder in the shrimp supply chain is usually driven by the demands of the next link (i.e. farmer - processor - importer - distributor - consumer). So when it comes down to it, often the distributor (retailer/restaurant etc.) can only make a change if they have reason to believe that the public is demanding change...

Though we are anticipating that we can make lots of progress before we reach public awareness as our limiting factor (the scale is just so huge!).

And we expect that in the meantime, progress towards public awareness of aquatic animal suffering will increase significantly thanks to the work of other NGOs (such as all the great NGOs in the Aquatic Animal Alliance ! [1])

There are lots of overlaps between welfare and sustainability, with a great overview provided by the Aquatic Life Institute [1] (we're hoping to publish a shrimp-focused look at the overlap of sustainability and welfare on our website soon!)

Our main concern is with super-intensive systems, in which many of these welfare issues are managed very well, but there are very high stocking densities. In less intensive systems, lower stocking densities can reduce stress and susceptibility to diseases, so we have a pretty good case for asking that they're reduced as part of our Ask. But in high-intensive systems, water quality and risk of disease are managed well, so stocking densities can be very high - and the overlap of welfare and sustainability falls down. In this case, we're hoping that being able to provide the farmers with access to a higher-welfare market becomes our main lever for justifying an ask to reduce stocking densities.

You've hit the nail on the head! The idea on the face of it seems so unusual, but once I talk through the scale, neglectedness and tractability of the problem, I've yet to find anyone who isn't convinced by it (except maybe my parents...)

I have been slightly bowled over by the number of people who have "got it", but as you say, this is largely because I'm talking to EAs. But even with non-EAs, describing welfare issues such as eyestalk ablation, dying of disease or suffocating due to lack of oxygen seems to be pretty well understood and hasn't come across as controversial...

We're really excited to see what lies ahead for us, and can't wait to see the progress you make on insect welfare! :)

Great questions!

Advocacy: You're absolutely right, that's been our impressions of corporate advocacy work too and we're currently not expecting to drum up grassroots campaigns, or do any significant work on public awareness. Our expectation as it stands is that we can frame the benefits of shrimp welfare as a lever for sustainability. The Seafood Task Force has managed to make shrimp supply chain improvements driven by retail largely without the buy-in of consumers [1]. In addition, we hope to enable corporations to be leaders in this area, as consumer awareness of aquatic welfare increases (i.e. due to Seaspiracy etc.).

Production: It's pretty concentrated on a country level in terms of distribution [2]. In South-East Asia there are often many smaller farmers, but they work with agents who deliver the shrimps to a centralised processing plant for export [3]. Our understanding of importing at a company level is that there are a few key importers that dominate the market [4].

I loved watching this talk, thanks for sharing!

It would be great to talk further about this idea (though based on your talk, it would seem you have already given way more thought to it than I have)

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