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emerging risks briefing

aqUacUlTUre cOnTinUed

Spotlight on chile:industry in crisis aquaculture in chile has grown from a edgling industry in the 1980s to a major contributor to the countrys economy. chile is now the second largest producer of salmon globally.The quality of the sh it produces and the technology it uses allows it to compete with other major countries.

cumulative risks however, in 2007 disaster struck the industry in the form of infectious salmon anaemia (isa), a deadly disease not previously seen in the southern hemisphere. coupled with a series of natural catastrophes, including earthquake-induced tsunamis, volcanic eruptions spreading ash along the coast and algal blooms sweeping through locations not previously identied as hotspots, 70% of the industry was wiped out over the course of two years.

The source of the disease and the cause of the outbreak is not known for certain but the proximity of the farms to one another and the ow of water currents around the coast may have contributed to the problem. similarly, high concentrations of farms adding increased nutrient loads into the water may also have triggered a number of the algal blooms experienced but it is not certain what role farms played in these events. however, increased rainfall and the resulting run-off from land-based agriculture can also lead to more nutrients being washed into the sea, contributing to algal blooms.

environmental groups accused chiles salmon industry of poor sanitary conditions, citing submerged cages overcrowded with salmon and excessive use of chemicals and antibiotics.There were particular concerns over the possible escape of farmed sh, the risk of disease transfer and an adverse impact on wild species genetic diversity.

Taking action as the largest aquaculture insurer in chile the situation presented rsa with some real challenges.We worked alongside the industry on a raft of measures and guidelines ranging from improved spatial planning, area management agreements, algal bloom mitigation procedures and biosecurity standards.This has enabled our clients to keep trading in spite of environmental risks and the economic downturn.

The location of farm sites is a delicate balancing act, with intense competition over the best locations, both within the industry and between marine users.The only solution is to move further aeld and carefully manage spatial planning to optimise farming operations, while assessing changes in risk.

rsa worked with customers to help manage their risks and enable them to recover as soon as possible. already we are seeing signs of recovery and growth. it is hoped that the industry should emerge stronger and better prepared for the future.

© isTOckphOTO.cOm

envirOnmenT

  • Infectious Salmon Anaemia

  • Tsunami

  • Volcanic ash

  • Algal blooms

  • Nitrates from farming

  • Nutrients from land-based agriculture

systemIc rIsk

ecOnOmic

  • Employment

  • Major claims

  • Economic decline

emerging risks briefing

sOcial

  • Ballast water

  • Agricultural chemical use

  • Overcrowding cages

  • Excess antibiotics and chemicals

  • Better locations for ‘flushing’

  • Improved management techniques

  • NGO pressure

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