The damage caused by harmful algae is a recurring problem for the global aquaculture sector with large financial impact. Insurance company Swiss RE estimates that harmful algae cause damages of (on the average) €65 million euro per year for insured salmon farm companies. Total damages to salmon aquaculture by extrapolation amount to the sixfold or €380 million. Other (non-quantified) market opportunities exist as a result of damages to shellfish- and shrimp aquaculture. Scientists in the field expect that the incidence of Harmful Algae will increase globally as a result of the combination of various factors: global warming, intensified rainfall leading to increasing nutrient run off, intensive agriculture run off, and the spread of exotic species of algae by (untreated) ship ballast water.
Our service offering consists of monitoring surface water quality and specifically harmful algae at professionally run farms cultivating salmon, other fish, shellfish and shrimps. The possibility to record and prevent part of damages by timely monitoring creates the demand for our services, not only with farms, but also indirectly with other stakeholders such as aquaculture insurance companies.
The study proposes a zoom-in approach where satellite data is used to monitor large areas to timely identify water quality anomalies combined with in-situ data collection to identify the exact nature of the anomaly. For the in-situ data collecting one of the partners developed the WISP monitor, which is now used at various place around the world to monitor ecological water quality data in near real time in medium to small water bodies.
Near real time data and their interpretation will be provided to the end users, enabling the end users to act if and when required. Both economic and public drivers are at stake.
The added value brought to the users by the integrated solution can be listed as follows:
- Reduced risk of harmful algae damages, creating a lower perceived risk on the company value by financial markets (MH is quoted on the Oslo Stock Exchange)
- Lower perceived risk for banks, leading to lower interest rates
- Lower perceived risks by insurance companies, leading to lower insurance rates and lower deductible structures and increased sales of insurance policies to the sector
- Higher insurance rates lead to lower perceived risks for the sector
- Long term economic stability in salmon production
- Reduced staff costs as a result of lower stress as a result of better understanding of the incidence of harmful algae
- Better understanding of ecosystem dynamics leads to better informed decisions for future farm locations
Societal (global consumers, environmental authorities, regional inhabitants):
- Production of a lower priced source of high quality proteins
- Better understanding of the ecosystem (including harmful algae incidence) leads to better production licensing system for aquaculture production
- Better understanding of feeding behaviour of salmon, leading to lower feed spillage in the environment that is surrounding fish farms
Service providers (laboratories, monitoring equipment suppliers, (satellite) data providers)
- Prolonged and integrated use of monitoring equipment and laboratory testing leads to better understanding of the importance of the critical parameters in the particular eco-system
- More stable production environment leads to higher employment at fish farms, processing factories, wholesale and retail operations
Links: Project Webpage ESA