Those all-you-can-eat platters come with a hefty environmental price (and possibly a health price as well) because shrimp farmers have typically used ponds built where mangroves once grew to make it easier to dump water containing waste and antibiotics and pump in clean water.
Farming ponds are often abandoned after a few years due to this chemical and biological contamination, which has contributed to vast destruction of vital mangrove habitats in Southeast Asia and Latin America over the past few decades. Alfredo Quarto, executive director and co-founder of the international advocacy group Mangrove Action Project, estimates that there are 450,000 hectares of abandoned shrimp farms worldwide—the equivalent of nearly half a million baseball fields.
That's a lot of "endless shrimp" dishes here in the USA, as 95% of farmed shrimp are exported to places like us. Matter of fact, the USA is the world's top shrimp importer.
The problem here is that mangroves fill a variety of needs: coastal protection in storms, erosion reduction, and rearing habitat for locally caught (and consumed) fish. Some of the exporting countries are seeing the light, and moving their ponds behind mangroves, rather than tearing them out. But there's an even better solution:
Shrimp farmers in the American Midwest are raising tropical shrimp all year round using recirculated water. Farms such as RDM Aquaculture in Indiana are growing shrimp in indoor facilities. They employ bays filled with bacteria to digest the shrimp waste products, eliminating the need to discharge wastewater into the local environment. Because of their bacterial bays, RDM’s system does not require discharging or replenishing water to keep animal waste from accumulating to toxic levels.
They also don't use antibiotics, which eliminates yet another set of issues. If you can raise shrimp successfully in Indiana, you can do it anywhere.