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emerging risks briefing

aqUacUlTUre

Growing demand for aquaculture aquaculture is one of the fastest-growing sectors in agriculture, due mainly to increasing pressures on wild

  • sh stocks, rising world populations and increased

competition for land use.aquaculture now accounts for 50% of the worlds sh.another 40,000 tonnes of aquatic food per annum will be required by 2030 to maintain current per capita consumption(1).

due to increasing demand, growth in aquaculture has been rapid and where unregulated, has led to environmental damage and sh health problems,causing huge nancial losses for the sh farmers involved.

also as the size and the sophistication of the industry has grown, so has the capital investment and need for specialist insurance products to protect farmers against nancial loss.

Techniques for farming Within aquaculture there are broadly two methods of raising sh, either onshore in tanks, ponds and lakes, or offshore in oating cages. Offshore cage aquaculture makes up the majority of risks currently insured, with these systems providing farmers with the scale and optimum water conditions for large farming operations.

To avoid conicts with other marine activities aquaculture is moving further offshore.This brings with it a number of challenges for sh farmers, specically with regard to equipment and nets used to secure stock within a marine environment that is subject to extreme weather and currents. potential impacts of climate change are also a cause for concern with changing water proles, currents and an increase in severe weather events adding to the risks.

Managing risk The potential environmental risks from aquaculture include the escape of farmed species that could impact biodiversity, transfer of diseases between wild and farmed stocks and increased interactions with wild predators.There is also the risk of pollution by poorly designed farms and environmentally damaging practices, such as the removal of mangroves to build shrimp ponds.

Dan Fairweathe ,Aquaculture Underwrite , Marine Department, RSA

“rsa rst started writing aquaculture insurance in 2004.We now cover a whole range of species (sh, shellsh and even sea cucumbers and sea urchins) in over 25 countries.

“The risks facing sh farmers are considerable. aquaculture equipment and moorings are only as strong as their weakest parts so it is vital to invest in good quality equipment to protect against losses. Offshore equipment must be of a high specication to cope with extreme conditions both above and below the waves.

“by working with customers through site and equipment surveys, analysing and modelling local environmental conditions, and assessing biological risks we can make a real difference.

“equipment failures can be dramatic. in an extreme case one of our largest losses was caused by the degradation of a protective thimble covering the eye of a mooring line holding a cage system together.The thimble cost a few euros, but the failure of this resulted in a loss of €7million.”

however, when farms are built correctly and carefully managed, aquaculture can reduce pressure on overexploited wild stocks and help replenish depleted stocks in certain situations. Operational risks of aquaculture continue to reduce allowing the benets to be maximised. new voluntary management standards, such as the aquaculture stewardship council certication can help to highlight best practice environmental management of farms.aquaculture can also provide security for the seafood industry, supplying food and new employment opportunities in traditional

  • shing communities.

    • (1)

      faO (food and agricultural Organisation of the United nations) rome 2006,

fisheriesTechnical paper 500, state ofWorld aquaculture

© JO benn/WWf-canOn

envirOnmenT

  • Pressure on wild sh

  • Extreme weather

  • Currents

  • Temperature change

  • Disease

  • Escapes

  • Effluent

  • Plankton bloom / red tide

  • Predators

  • Lightning

  • Acidification

systemIc rIsk

ecOnOmic

  • Source of employment

  • Cost of equipment

  • Less claims

emerging risks briefing

sOcial

  • Growing populations

  • Land use competition

  • Spatial planning

  • Certification schemes

  • Collisions

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