The 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit northern Ecuador’s coast around 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, 2016, severely damaged the country’s shrimp farming industry.
According to reports from the USA Geological Survey, the earthquake struck 27 kilometers (16.7 miles) offshore, southeast of the coastal town of Muisne in Esmeraldes Province.
International media reports currently put the nationwide death toll at 350 and rising. Search efforts through the debris of toppled buildings are underway, and relief agencies are deploying resources to help rescue survivors.
Much of the disaster’s devastation struck in Pedernales, 37 miles south of Muisne in Manabi Province, which accounts for nearly 10% of the country’s total shrimp output. Ecuador in turn produces 10% of the world’s Penaeus vannamei output and is a major supplier to the USA, the European Union and Asian markets, especially China.
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa has said that the monetary damages will likely top several billion dollars, putting further pressure on an oil-producing economy damaged by low prices.
Nearly 80% of shrimp ponds in Ecuador’s Manabí Province were “devastated” by the April 16, 2016, 7.8-magnitude earthquake, a senior executive from one of the country’s shrimp exporters said. Another person said three or four “medium-sized” processing plants in the province saw their infrastructure damaged.
Additionally, an estimated 80% of shrimp ponds—possibly as much as 15,000 hectares—suffered crop losses and won’t likely be producing anytime soon. Many workers have to rebuild their homes or search for shelter for their families as 70% of buildings collapsed.
In Guayaquil, Ecuador’s major commercial center, where many shrimp exporters have offices, there were reports of severe shaking, but no major impacts on facilities.
Source: Undercurrent News [eight free news reads every month]. Editor, Tom Seaman ([email protected]). Ecuador Earthquake Blog: Devastation Affects Shrimp, Tuna Sectors; 6,000 Hectares Feared Destroyed. Jason Smith ([email protected]). April 18, 2016.