Impacts of HABs on fish farms: Addressing industry and global insurance needs

Leads: Mark Wells and Charles Trick

Other speakers: Dean Tretheway (Grieg Seafood, BC, Canada), Javier Vivanco Ocampo (Baja Aqua Farms), Geir Myre (insurance)

Two views often can solve problems in half the time, but HAB scientists have long worked independently of fish farming industry managers when addressing fish-killing algal blooms. These two groups view this HAB problem through different lenses, leading to competing ideologies and needs. The scientist perspective (“bottom-up”) often relies on a systematic approach to uncover the root cause of the problem to better understand how to prevent future episodes from arising. The managerial perspective (“top-down”), on the other hand, centers instead around a symptoms approach, applying short-term solutions to alleviate or minimize impacts rather than seeking long-term solutions. This disconnect hinders a holistic approach to the problem that can only be addressed through greater collaboration. An example of such collaboration is a new compendium of case studies on the economic impacts of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) on wild and recreational fisheries and aquaculture have recently been published by the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES). These insights developed during a workshop bridging HAB scientists, industry and global insurance representatives with the goal of developing better strategies to link environmental drivers to quantifying direct and indirect economic costs of HABs. The goal of this ISSHA special session is to generate a conversation with insurance industry and on-the-ground aquaculture industry representatives to discuss their perspectives on future research directions and needs, and how to work together to address the impacts of HABs on aquaculture, issues of risk management, early warning approaches, and mitigation cost benefits.

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