Insurer spells out risks of RAS

Insurer spells out risks of RAS

THE world’s biggest fish farm insurer said that recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) had so far been a loss maker.
Speaking at the North Atlantic Seafood Forum (NASF) in Bergen today, Geir Myre, global head of aquaculture insurance at AXA XL Catlin, said the proliferation of RAS projects were not ‘dream objects’ for his company, Salmon Business reported.
‘(RAS has) less than two per cent premium, but over five per cent of the losses. This has so far been a loss making project for us,’ said Myre.
He said the risk factors included water quality, biology, crew, technological risk, genetics and hydraulics.
‘There are many small things that can go wrong. We need more expertise in place before we can assure it or if we are going to insure it.’
Myre (pictured) pointed out that there are now plans to build RAS plants with biomass of up to 45,000 tonnes of salmon.
‘It is too much for one insurance company. Then we must have a consortium,’ he said, adding that he would be surprised if there were more than two companies that could offer insurance. ‘We are the only global player.’
The Bergen based company has been insuring fish farms since 1974 and has 35 per cent of the international market.
Myre said they are not ‘100 per cent negative’ about RAS but wants more facts on the table.
Last year, Myre told the industry there were ‘a lack of standards’ in RAS farms, some sites were poorly constructed from the start, and his firm had experienced ‘some huge losses’.
‘What we have seen is extremely risky – these farms are big industrial factories reliable on technology; they have a tendency to be built not off the shelf, every farm we visit is different,’ he said at the Aquaculture Innovation Europe seminar in London last September.
‘We’ve had farms completely wiped out – in Norway and in Europe the same happened – and this has led to insurers completely pulling out of the market.’
*The 14th North Atlantic Seafood Forum (NASF) is being held from March 5-7 in Bergen, Norway.

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