Assessment and monitoring of nutrient loading in the sediments of tidal creeks receiving shrimp farm effluent in Quang Ninh, Vietnam

Environ Monit Assess. 2013 Oct;185(10):8715-31. doi: 10.1007/s10661-013-3207-2. Epub 2013 Apr 26.


Coastal shrimp farming may lead to the contamination of sediments of surrounding estuarine and marine ecosystems as shrimp farm effluent often contains high levels of pollutants including a range of organic compounds (from uneaten feed, shrimp feces, and living and dead organisms) which can accumulate in the sediments of receiving waterways. The assessment and monitoring of sediment quality in tidal creeks receiving shrimp farm effluent can support environmental protection and decision making for sustainable development in coastal areas since sediment quality often shows essential information on long-term aquatic ecosystem health. Within this context, this paper investigates nutrient loadings in the sediments of tidal creeks receiving shrimp farm effluent in Quang Ninh, Vietnam, which now have a high concentration of intensive and semi-intensive shrimp farms. Sediment samples taken from inside creek sections directly receiving effluent from concentrated shrimp farms (IEC), from main creeks adjacent to points of effluent discharge outside concentrated shrimp farms (OEC), and few kilometers away from shrimp farms (ASF) as reference sites were collected and analyzed before and after shrimp crops to investigate spatial and temporal variation. The results showed that there were statistically significant differences in the concentrations of total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and total organic carbon among IEC, OEC, and ASF sites while the seasonal variation being limited over study times. A sediment nutrient index (SNI) computed from coefficient scores of the factor analysis efficiently summarizes sediment nutrient loads, which are high, albeit quite variable, in canals directly receiving effluents from farms but then decline sharply with distance from shrimp farms. The visualization and monitoring of sediment quality data including SNI on maps can strongly support managers to manage eutrophication at concentrated shrimp farming areas, contributing to sustainable development and management at coastal zones.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquaculture / methods*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Eutrophication
  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry*
  • Nitrogen / analysis*
  • Penaeidae / growth & development*
  • Phosphorus / analysis*
  • Rivers / chemistry
  • Vietnam
  • Wastewater / analysis
  • Wastewater / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Waste Water
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Phosphorus
  • Nitrogen