Litopenaeus vannamei is a promising shrimp species for aquaculture and is usually harvested before the individuals reach the adult stage. Unfortunately many aspects of its natural history are being disregarded in the industry. Its dependence on fish in the feed is an issue that is deserving attention but is not solved. Unnatural stocking densities, shallow tanks, absence of substrate in culture tanks, and the highly invasive practice of eyestalk ablation are major problems that hinder this species’ welfare in aquaculture. However, the biggest issue seems to be the absence of data on many aspects of its biology. Further research is needed on natural behaviour as well as on the physiological effects of farming practices.
Providing soft substrate that allows the expression of natural behaviours such as burrowing and grazing, as well as reducing stocking densities are simple measures that should help improve both performance and welfare. Eyestalk ablation has been recently shown to be unnecessary to induce spawning and therefore should not be implemented.