Certification and aquaculture insurance adds value

Cedric Audor Cedric Audor of Guian SA's aquaculture department. Credit: Bonnie Waycott

The second day of the High Energy Mariculture Conference 2018 began with business development and investment for offshore farms.

Strong awareness was expressed at the start towards aquaculture as a risky industry, and the need for solid risk management going forward. Expressing his delight that the words risk management had been mentioned on day one, Cedric Audor of Guian SA's Aquaculture Department highlighted the need for insurance in offshore farms.

These farms face a range of challenges, he said, such as climatic events, predation, collisions, high temperatures, malicious acts like theft or team errors, as well as electrical and mechanical breakdowns. Because of this, it is all the more important for offshore farms to choose a specific aquaculture policy and work with a broker that specialises in the type of risk that could occur in aquaculture so a tailor-made coverage is adapted. Introducing Guian's own aquaculture policy AquaSecure, Cedric stressed the importance of insurance to secure corporate social responsibility and guarantee that farms can continue to operate.

Support available

Strong aquaculture insurance policies tied in well with the third session of day one, which focused on adding value to products. Support is available for offshore farms from organisations such as the Global Aquaculture Alliance and Aquaculture Stewardship Council that offer help in certification based on pillars of responsible aquaculture such as food safety, social awareness and environmental compliance. Meanwhile countries such as Turkey and Iceland are developing ways to ensure success and continuation in aquaculture production through government initiatives to increase low per capita seafood consumption by increasing production in aquaculture (Turkey) and researching areas such as handling, shipping, packaging and fish transport to establish valuable knowhow and new technology (Iceland). According to Gunnar Thordarson of Matis in Iceland, such moves are crucial going forward.

"We are in competition with other nations so we cannot afford to run things poorly. We must make a profit in fisheries and we really have to do it well," he said.

Aquaculture development can only take place when there is a strong regulatory and legal environment, and this environment needs to be understood for developments to happen, including in offshore farming. Katherine Hawes, Principal Solicitor and Barrister at Aquarius Lawyers spoke to the audience from Australia via video link to discuss how the ocean could be regulated and sold, with a focus on property rights in water space. As a relatively new industry, aquaculture is often not outlined in international laws. What is the future of the industry and the ocean environment, and what do we need to think of collectively to have a more stable future? Katherine closed Session 4 by explaining the need to advocate for more simplified legislation and licensing procedures, to address the void in laws regulating aquaculture and to work with regulators to prevent a free for all in the ocean.

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