11-12 September 2018
One of every two fish sold on the world’s markets already comes from aquaculture and this share will continue to grow in the coming years. New farming projects are added almost every day. Not all of them succeed at the first attempt for aquaculture is very susceptible to disturbances and damages. So far, however, only very few companies are insured against losses. Too expensive, too complicated, or simply not interested?
Insurance companies don’t have a very good image. They are sometimes scorned for lending out umbrellas but immediately reclaiming them when the first drops of rain fall. Nearly everyone can relate examples of how skilfully insurance companies will evade their obligations when things get really tight for the insured party. Nevertheless, interest in insuring aquaculture projects has never been greater than it is today. The gap between this increase in demand and the available offers of aquaculture insurance is getting wider and wider. More than ten years ago FAO experts estimated the number of insurance policies taken out at around 8,000, and even if this number is likely to have increased by a few thousand since then it is still negligible compared to the total number of large and small aquaculture companies which amounts to several hundred thousand! It is striking that a large share of existing insurance policies is concluded in western industrialised countries while other regions, such as large parts of Asia, which accounts for around 80 per cent of global aquaculture production, are much less represented. What are the causes of this unsatisfactory situation? Do insurance companies simply shy away from the eff ort and cost of auditing farms or, in general, from the risks of fish farming? Or is it because fish farmers fear the costs of insurance and underestimate the benefits of insurance cover? Another noticeable feature of aquaculture insurance is that many insurers only offer products for a few species and production methods: mainly for salmon and shrimps. It is much more difficult to find useful offers for new species and innovative methods. This is understandable, because insurers need a broad database and industry-specific standards in order to realistically assess the risks of aquaculture production and calculate the resulting premiums. What has long been routine in car insurance, because there are detailed time series on the type, frequency and severity of possible damage that can even be grouped regionally and for specific car types, is still very difficult in aquaculture. The diversity of species and methods can hardly be forced into uniform, universally applicable standards.
Eurofish Magazine issue 2 2018 features Poland along with Lithuania. This issue also looks at insurance in aquaculture and the fisheries section looks at how IUU fishing is threatening sustainable fishing.
March / April 2018 EM 2
Country profile: Poland, Lithuania
Fisheries: IIUU fishing torpedoes sustainable fisheries management - When licensed fishing and adherence to quotas is penalized
Aquaculture: Insurance – Is it worth it? Coverage of operational risks linked to strict conditions
Events: Preview of the SEG show in Brussels
Esben Lunde Larsen, Danish Minister for the Environment and Food, will investigate whether companies are breeding fish for which they do not have permission. In autumn at Hjarnø in Horsens Fjord, Denmark about 200 coho salmon escaped from a farm. Following a request from the Danish Sports Fishing Association, it emerged that the company did not have all the necessary permits to breed the non-indigenous species. While a farming company is responsible for having the permits in place, the authorities need to do more to ensure knowledge of the rules and to make sure that they are being respected, said Mr Lunde Larsen. The farm in question was authorised by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration to import coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) eggs but did not have a valid permit to breed an alien species. The minister has now asked the Danish Environmental Protection Agency to check for and address any similar cases.
Eurofish Magazine issue 1 2018 features Italy along with Denmark and Bosnia and Herzegovina while the fisheries section looks at invasive animal and plant species that threaten Europe’s biodiversity and better use of low-value fish and trash fish.
January / February 2018 EM 1
Country profile: Italy, Denmark, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Fisheries: Invasive animal and plant species threaten Europe’s biodiversity and Need for better use of low-value fi sh and trash fish
Trade and Markets: Eurofish study on fish consumption in Croatia
Events: New opportunities for value creation, International coldwater prawn forum 2017 (ICWPF), and International Conference on Fisheries and Blue Growth
Mainstreaming IMTA calls for regulatory change
Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA), growing multiple species from different trophic levels in a system that reduces the impact of the cultivation on the environment, is potentially a way of rethinking aquaculture as it is known in the west.
Feeding a human population that is not only growing, but is also seeking greater food and nutrition security and dietary diversity will soon be a major challenge. Marine organisms constitute a much-coveted resource for seafood and many other derived products; however, there is a need to reduce the pressure on remaining fish stocks. Aquaculture, which has been growing rapidly to the point of now delivering approximately half the world’s seafood, has developed a controversial reputation in some parts of the world, due to high density operations, environmental degradation, algal blooms, and the increased risk of disease. Consequently, a major rethinking is needed regarding the functioning of an “aquaculture farm”, and innovative practices need to be developed if we want this sector to become the most efficient and responsible food production system of the future.
Increasing sustainable production will call for concerted efforts
The case study “Mussel Farming” has been investigated in the framework of the European project SUCCESS (Horizon 2020) along with other aquaculture case studies. This overview of the European mussel farming sector is based on a presentation given during the workshop at Cattolica (Italy) in May 2017 and relies on preliminary outputs of the project regarding this aquaculture sector.
Globally, the production of farmed mussels has exceeded that from the wild since the end of the 1950s, and the volume share of capture fisheries fell below 10% in 2005. In the EU, mussel farming and fisheries are well-established sectors in some countries, but have exhibited a downward production trend since the beginning of the century, whereas they are still expanding in other parts of the world. The volume share of production in the EU progressively decreased from 47% to 27% over the period 2000-2015; in the meantime, China’s share rose substantially from 30% to 42% and the contribution of Chile grew from 2% to 12% thanks to the development of aquaculture (FAO Fishstat).
Farmed fish with a long history and an uncertain future
The common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is not only one of the best-known but also one of the most frequently produced freshwater food fishes. Nearly 4.2 million tonnes of this species were reared in carp ponds or in polyculture in 2014, plus a further 150,000 tonnes from fishing. Carp were already popular as food fish in the ancient world, and in Central Europe centuries-old carp fishing ponds are today part of the cultural landscape.
The original distribution area of common carp is in the warm temperate regions of South East Europe and Asia from the Black Sea, through Asia Minor and China, to Japan. The Romans introduced the species to Central Europe about 2,000 years ago and today it is to be found all over Europe, with the exception of Scandinavia. Within this extensive area, however, the species structure is widely controversial. Some taxonomists distinguish four subspecies whose core centres are thought to be found from the Danube River basin to the Ural Mountain range, in the Aral Sea, in the Amur River basin to southern China, and in the waters of North Vietnam. Other experts differentiate only two subspecies – C. c. carpio and C. c. haematopterus, while a third group sees rather a uniform species status. Morphological methods alone hardly enable any satisfactory distinction for, with regard to its body shape, the common carp is one of the most variable freshwater fish species.
Almost 97 per cent of global carp production today comes from farms. Genuine wild stocks are only to be found in a few waters, and the original wild carp is considered threatened. The carp that swim in natural waters are mostly farmed forms which have been released intentionally or have escaped from aquaculture facilities. Since carp can live for more than 50 years they can be found today in numerous waters. Carp particularly like slow-flowing or standing waters, such as the middle and lower reaches of rivers, but also ponds and lakes. There the fish like to keep to shallow vegetated coves, or shallows near the riverbanks. Although carp can survive cold winters they hardly eat or grow during such periods. They like warmer waters and the optimum water temperature for growth is above 20° C. This makes it clear why despite many centuries of selective breeding that has produced at least 30 to 35 breeds throughout Europe, the species can only exploit its full growth potential in the southern regions of the continent. Apart from temperature, however, the requirements for the water parameters are not high. Carp tolerate salinities of up to five per thousand, pH values between 6.5 and 9, and can survive low oxygen concentrations of 0.3 to 0.5 mg/litre.
Carp are often said to be herbivores, but in fact they are omnivores, for they make use of a wide range of food of both vegetable and animal origin. They eat insect larvae, worms, mollusks, and also occasionally young fishes, aquatic plants and other organic material, which is crushed with the fish’s strong pharyngeal teeth which are located on the rear gill arches. For this purpose, the pharyngeal teeth rub against the lenticular, curved, hard lapis carpionis, a plate between the indentation of the occipital bone and the first vertebra. Carp finds its food preferably in the bottom water layers or in the muddy bed of ponds and rivers. They usually begin to search for food at dawn, using their two pairs of barbels on the upper lip for detection and then sucking the food in with the trunk-like protuberant (protractile) mouth. With good nutrition and optimum temperatures carp can grow by 2 to 4% of their body weight daily. In tropical and subtropical areas growth of 0.6 to 1.0 kg per year is possible. In the temperate regions of Europe, on the other hand, carp need two to four growth periods (summers) to reach weights of between 1 and 2 kg.