The states of Sinaloa and Sonora are the largest producers of large shrimp (camarones) in Mexico (85% of production in 2001, see the graph), that are primarily exported to the United States. In 2008, Sinaloa counted 300 marine farms covering an area of 280 km2. The farmed species, Litopenaeus vannamei, whiteleg shrimp or Pacific white shrimp, can adjust to salinity levels from 9 to 55‰. Water temperature plays an essential role: the shrimp can only be harvested between May-June and October (sometimes longer if an exemption is authorised), because the temperature of the water during the rest of the year, often lower than 20°C, is too cold (a minimum of 29°C is required).
Shrimp farming is exposed to serious biological and health risks. The observed declines in production are due to infectious animal diseases (zoonoses) caused by different viruses (60%), bacteria and other pathogens. As a result, from 1995 to 1997, yields were affected by the Taura syndrome virus (TSV). Then, the state of Sonora (which became the leading producer in 2009 with an output of 81,422 tonnes), lost more than 50% of its production in the years that followed (35,305 tonnes in 2012) due to the white spot syndrome virus (WSSV). In 2013, another virus, from Asia, once again caused a decline in production, resulting in the loss of 80% to 100% of shrimp larvae.