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Vietnam shrimp sector adopts tech in quest for clean supply chain

Asia's top exporter after India helped crustacean's explosion in popularity

Shrimp's evolution from luxury to buffet staple has come with global environmental and social costs. (Photo by Lien Hoang)

HO CHI MINH CITY -- Along Vietnam's tropical coasts, shrimp farmers stand chest-deep in artificial ponds tending to their "troupes" of the shellfish.

They have helped Vietnam join the ranks of Asian exporters that have flooded the world with the cheap crustacean, contributing to a doubling of the global shrimp trade over the past decade. But the explosion in consumption has brought problems of overfishing, disease, pollution and forced labor that the industry has been trying to tackle for years.

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