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Since 2017, more and more illegal shrimp farms are spreading on our islands. This has a huge impact on the surrounding ecosystems, but also on the lives of the locals. With our movement #SAVEKARIMUNJAWA, we are trying to draw attention to the problem, to stop the further spread of the farms and to bring those responsible to justice. 


All information and provided photos and videos on this page have been collected and provided by ourselves or from sources listed below. 


Poorly managed and too many shrimp farms, not only pollute the oceans, but also their own water resources. Organic substances, such as food residues or excrement, and inorganic substances, in the form of artificial fertiliser or chemicals to kill pathogens, are discharged into the surrounding nature. The farms located on Karimunjawa only have a lifespan of 7 to 10 years and leave behind contaminated empty ponds. 

In October 2020 the Karimunjawa-Jepara-Muria was designated as a biosphere reserve by the UNESCO and already in 1999 the Minister of Forestry declared parts of the area as a national park, that should take care of the marine biodiversity of the islands. According to the RTRW (spatial plan) of the regency of Jepara, Karimunjawa is  not designated for shrimp farming but for a National Tourism Strategic Area. So how does it come that plenty of illegal shrimp farms are part of a biosphere reserve, a national parc and a National Tourism Strategic Area? We are still looking for the answer and are wondering how that all fits together, especially when you can physically see the negativ impacts of the shrimp farms on our islands. 


Environmental Impact

Shrimp pond waste which is rich in organic and inorganic matter that is dumped on the surrounding environment of the ponds, lead to eutrophication in the coastal area, which disrupt the balance of the area. Eutrophication is a process in which nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen accumulate in a body of water and aquatic plants grow uncontrollably. It can cause mass deaths and is dangerous for reefs, seagrass, and mangroves. In Karimunjawa you can often recognise this by a large layer of algae on the surface of the water, and the death of coral reefs and seagrass plantations.

In addition, the construction of shrimp farms have been shown to destroy important ecosystems such as mangrove forests and coastal wetlands.


Social Impact

The opinions of the local population are divided into pro and contra groups. This leads to conflicts, mistrust and confusion within the community.

In addition, children in particular often have to struggle with skin problems. While playing on beaches near shrimp farms, they come into contact with the polluted water and come home with skin rashes and itching. 


Economical Impact

Seaweed farmers 

Their income has dropped drastically because the seawater contaminated by the waste from the shrimp farms infects the seaweed with diseases.

Fishing grounds are becoming more remote because many fish near the coast have died due to the pollution of the shrimp farms.

Mangrove Crab Finder

Many areas of mangrove forests have been cleared because the shrimp farms need a lot of space and are spreading further and further.

Tourism stakeholders 

Due to the declining water quality in Karimunjawa caused by the waste from the shrimp farms, many coral reefs are damaged, many marine animals are dead and the water is itchy. Therefore, marine tourism is affected. Karimunjawa's market value lies in its exquisite underwater garden.  


Only a few residents actually work on the shrimp farms. Most of the workers come from outside the area and therefore the local population does not benefit economically from the shrimp farms.

Sources and further Information: 

Allsopp M., Johnston P., Santillo D. (2008). Challenging the Aquaculture Industry on Sustainibility: Technical Overview. Greenpeace Reserach Laboratories, University of Exeter, UK.

Boyd C.E., Clay J.W. (1998). Umweltschonende Garnelenzucht.

Purnomo A.R. et al (2022). Environmental Impact of the Intensive System of Vannamei Shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) Farming on the Karimunjawa-Jepara-Muria Biosphere Reserve, Indonesia. In International Journal on Advanced Science Engineering Information Technology 12(3), (p.873 - 880)

An overview of the shrimp farms

On the following map you can find all the shrimp farms on Karimunjawa islands in 2020 based on the data of the National Park.


Tambak_Karimun – Google My Maps


Our Work

We are doing our best to stop the operation of intensive shrimp farms in Karimunjawa. We walk through the mangrove jungle collecting evidence while enduring the stench of waste and the risk of skin rashes. 

In addition, we educate the small-scale fishers and seaweed farmers about the environment and their rights, even though they are ridiculed and insulted. 

Until now we have brought the case to the people's representative and the regent of Jepara, the regional police, the ministries involved and the president's staff. 

Next steps

Since, despite all our efforts, no changes have been made so far, our next step is a class action. A class action is a legal action that is organized by a group of people who all have the same legal problem. In our case we combine all the similarly affected groups (fishermen, seaweed farmers, community members and the tourism sector) and file a lawsuit against the shrimp farms. 

Furthermore, we continuously try to gain national and international attention with our social media channels. 

Our Partners


Kawali is a Non Profit Organisation, which is engaged in activities and work to save the environment and fight for human rights. They support us in particular with their legal knowledge and the class action process                           website: 

  • Instagram


Japara poster syndicate is a group of artists which support us with their artistic work. They attract attention in the form of posters in public and on social media.


  • japara_poster_syndicate
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