Where on Earth: Shrimp Farms in Honduras

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What are these green rectangles? Comparing satellites views captured during the rainy and dry seasons, this quiz-form segment focuses on aquaculture along the Pacific coast of Honduras and Nicaragua. 

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with the NASA Earth Observatory (https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).
Story adapted from Image of the Day post by Michael Carlowicz, with image interpretation from Bart Green, USDA: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/78178/tiny-shrimp-big-changes

  • Image of Gulf of Fonseca shrimp ponds in 1999 from Thematic Mapper on Landsat 5
  • Image of Gulf of Fonseca shrimp ponds on January 23, 1999 (dry season) from Thematic Mapper on Landsat 5
  • Image showing shrimp farms on January 8, 2011 (dry season), Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper 
  • Written by Katherine Porter
  • Designed by Dani Player
  • Music from Yesh Music (ASCAP)

Various landscapes. Text, Where On Earth?
An off-white landscape with green rectangles. Text, What are these green rectangles?
A. Rice paddies in Viet Nam. B. Vegetable gardens in Italy. C. Shrimp pods in Honduras. D. Horse pastures in New Zealand.
Highlight on C, Shrimp pods in Honduras
Shrimp Ponds in Choluteca, Honduras. The aquaculture industry on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua and Honduras has produced bountiful harvests of shrimp. Algae growing in the water gives active shrimp ponds a green color. When drained, dry ponds are grey or brown.
Until the late 1990s, shrimp farmers harvested during both the rainy season and the dry season. But by the early 2000s, farmers realized that it is more economical to drain ponds during the dry season when water quality is low.
Lines on a map indicate locations of drained shrimp ponds
Text, Draining ponds allows sunlight and wind to break down algae and fish waste and reduce disease-carrying organisms, improving water quality.
From Honduras to the Earth as a whole. Text, Music courtesy of Yesh Music (ASCAP)
Various landscapes. Where On Earth?