Like so many Ecuadorian shrimp producers, BioCentinela was hit hard by the crippling bout of White Spot Syndrome that ravaged farm after farm in 1999. But unlike most of the disease's survivors, BioCentinela didn't return to its former production; instead, as company president Javier Barragan puts it, the business decided to 'seize the moment’ and move into organics. After several years hard slog, BioCentinela has now turned a corner – production is up, revenues have grown and the product itself, Pacific white shrimp is in high demand from lucrative European markets.

But there is another side to this successful enterprise that produces approximately 320 tonnes of shrimp each year – a side that, to all intents and purposes, cares about the world in which it makes a living.

BioCentinela’s 300 hectares of shrimp ponds are located on the Isla Puná, in the Gulf of Guayaquil. This island is inhabited by around 50 families and has just one crude freshwater well, a few miles away from the farm.

Last month, Mr. Barragan’s firm completed a project that now channels some of the water to reservoirs closer to the islander’s homes. This gesture, entirely funded by BioCentinela, is expected to bring immeasurable benefit to the lives of those residents.

BioCentinela didn’t have to construct the freshwater system, the company is far from the biggest in the marketplace, but Mr. Barragan says that he knew it would make a ‘positive difference’.

He tells me that a lot of blood, sweat and tears has gone into the company, but it is now just starting to see the benefits of its actions and so it was nice to give something back.

In addition to the well project, BioCentinela is replanting mangrove which, Mr. Barragan says, was mistakenly taken when the farms were established several decades ago.

Is should also be mentioned that other farming firms, including Songa, are replacing the country’s lost mangrove and they too should be celebrated for their efforts.

I am told that such programmes have nothing to do with appeasing environmental lobbies or attracting pro-sustainable seafood buyers. Instead they are the result of growing environmental awareness in that part of the world, a fact that deserves extra applause.

There will be much more from Ecuador and Latin America in next month’s magazine.