To celebrate the second anniversary of Aquaculture Businesses we asked the author Carole Engle a few questions about the book. In the full interview below, Carole talks about her inspiration for the book, how climate change may affect aquaculture businesses and more.
What was your inspiration for the book?
My inspiration for the book grew out of many, many conversations with fish farmers over the years related to all the varied challenges associated with managing a successful aquaculture business. While there are multitudes of books generally on economics and management, there really were not any that were sufficiently practical to be of value to the wide range of scales of aquaculture businesses.
What special knowledge or research was required to write Aquaculture Businesses?
The special knowledge required for Aquaculture Businesses was that of the specific realities of aquaculture business management. Generic economic and financial theory provides a broad, 34,000-foot framework for approaching decision-making on aquaculture farms, but the real-world is complicated because the specific issues and challenges faced by aquaculture farmers vary so greatly from farm to farm. Having spent time working with hundreds of individual aquaculture farm businesses over the years has provided insights into what they face and how the successful farmers have worked through the many challenges that they face year in and year out.
What are your thoughts on environmental evolution and aquaculture and how do you consider climate change will affect aquaculture businesses?
There has been a dramatic change over time in the number and proportion of individuals across the world who understand the importance of environmental sustainability issues. This is reflected in the number of environmental laws and stringent enforcement of those laws in a number of countries around the world; in those without a well-developed and enforced governance system, there is increased recognition of the importance of environmental certification programs. Well-managed aquaculture farms pay attention to the efficiency of resource use on their farms, both for environmental sustainability reasons and for cost-efficiency reasons. Recent research studies have shown a close correlation between cost-efficient use of resources, especially water, energy, and feed, and environmental sustainability. The result has been a clear trend in producing more food with fewer resources. The effects of climate change, in my view, will vary with specific locations. Resulting challenges for aquaculture businesses in coastal areas, for example, will differ from those in inland areas. Given the incredible diversity of aquaculture around the world, in species, production systems, scales, locations, and management, I do not believe that there will be one single effect of climate change on all aquaculture businesses; effects will be site specific. Climate change is something that needs to be considered by all farms in their annual revisions of their business plans. For example, for farms located in coastal areas, accessing emerging databases that identify which areas are likeliest to experience sea level rise or changes in salinity, or other factors is critical to begin planning for adjustments that may be needed. Climate change is one of the many external factors that affect aquaculture businesses that should be considered in periodic (hopefully annual) reviews of the business plans for their farm.
What is your target audience and what are the benefits of the book to them?
The primary targeted audience for the book is aquaculture businesses around the world. The book is intended to provide sufficient detail to be of value to large farms, but with sufficient clarity and reference to other resources to be of value to small-scale farmers in which family members must take care of every aspect of the business. Secondary audiences include extension and outreach personnel who provide advice and guidance to aquaculture producers as well as aquaculture researchers and students and policy makers who seek to understand the complexities of what aquaculture farmers contend with to be successful. The benefit to these groups is to include in a single book, the various economic, marketing, and financial factors that must be managed for an aquaculture business to be successful. Successful aquaculture businesses are those that integrate all these factors into their decision making. It is equally important for those who provide support services to aquaculture farms (extension/outreach personnel, sales personnel, researchers, policy makers) to have some degree of understanding of what the effects of their advice may be on the success or failure of an aquaculture business.
If you could recommend an excerpt to start reading the book, what would it be?
“This practical guide for aquaculture businesses works through the considerations and factors that every aquaculture business, whether well-established or startup, should evaluate each year. Each chapter of the book provides guidance and details of the business planning decisions that should be made and what should be factored in to the analysis of whether the existing business is performing well or if the startup business is likely to succeed.”
If you wish to read more about this subject, Aquaculture Businesses by Carole Engle is available here – use Coupon Code ABA30 at the checkout for a 30% discount (valid till the end of April 2022).