Understanding and applying risk analysis in aquaculture

FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. No. 519

Understanding and applying
risk analysis in aquaculture

Edited by

Melba G. Bondad-Reantaso
Fishery Resources Officer (Aquaculture)
Aquaculture Management and Conservation Service
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department
Rome, Italy

James Richard Arthur
FAO Consultant
British Columbia, Canada


Rohana P. Subasinghe
Senior Fishery Resources Officer (Aquaculture)
Aquaculture Management and Conservation Service
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department
Rome, Italy

Rome, 2008

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ISBN 978-92-5-106152-7

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© FAO 2008

Bondad-Reantaso, M.G.; Arthur, J.R.; Subasinghe, R.P. (eds).
Understanding and applying risk analysis in aquaculture.
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. No. 519. Rome, FAO. 2008. 304p.


As a food-producing sector, aquaculture has surpassed both capture fisheries and the terrestrial farmed meat production systems in terms of average annual growth rate. However, it has a number of biosecurity concerns that pose risks and hazards to both its development and management, and to the aquatic environment and society. Aquaculture faces risks similar to those of the agriculture sector. However, as aquaculture is very diverse (in terms of species, environments, systems and practices), the range of hazards and the perceived risks are complex. Multiple objectives are driving the application of risk analysis to aquaculture. Foremost is for resource protection (human, animal and plant health; aquaculture; wild fisheries and the general environment) as embodied in international agreements and responsibilities. The other drivers of risk analysis are: (i) food security, (ii) trade, (iii) consumer preference for high quality and safe products, (iv) production profitability and (v) other investment and development objectives.

The expert workshop, using a series of seven review papers commissioned by the desk study, focused on the importance and application of risk analysis to seven major risk sectors of aquaculture production: pathogen risks, food safety and public health risks, ecological (pests) risks, genetic risks, environmental risks, financial risks and social risks. Part 1 of the document consists of 12 peer-reviewed technical papers relative to the application of risk analysis to aquaculture that were prepared by 23 specialists papers on: general principles of risk analysis, food safety and public health risks associated with products of aquaculture, pathogen risk analysis, application of risk analysis to genetic issues in aquaculture ecological risk assessment and management of exotic organisms, introduced marine species risk assessment, guidelines for ecological risk assessment of marine fish aquaculture, the aquaculture insurance industry risk analysis process and risk analysis experiences from small-scale shrimp farmers in India. Part 2 contains the detailed outcomes of the deliberations of 42 experts who developed the contents of a Manual on the Application of Risk Analysis to Aquaculture, discussed in great length the seven risk sectors and reached general conclusions and specific recommendations to enhance the application of the risk analysis process to aquaculture production.

Risk analysis methods as applied to the seven risk sectors have many commonalities but also many differences. An overriding feature is a firm foundation in drawing upon the results of scientific studies, the use of logic or deductive reasoning and the application of common sense in assessing risk and applying risk management measures. General principles that apply to risk analysis for aquaculture include application of the precautionary approach when dealing with uncertainty, transparency of the process, consistency in methodolody, use of stakeholder consultation, application of high level of stringency, use of minimal risk management interventions needed to achieve an acceptable level of risk, the concept of unacceptable risk and recognition that some "risky" actions cannot be managed and therefore should not be permitted under any circumstance, and the concept of equivalence where alternative risk management measures achieving the required level of protection are equally acceptable.


Preparation of this document (Download 974 kb)
Acronyms and abbreviations


   General principles of the risk analysis process (Download 108 kb)
   and its application to aquaculture
            J. Richard Arthur

   Food safety and public health risks associated with (Download 221 kb)
   products of aquaculture
            Iddya Karunasagar

   Pathogen risk analysis for aquaculture production (Download 230 kb)
            Melba G. Bondad-Reantaso and J. Richard Arthur

   Application of risk analysis to genetic issues in aquaculture (Download 678 kb)
            Eric Hallerman

   Ecological risk assessment and management of exotic organisms  (Download 307 kb)
   associated with aquaculture activities
            Kenneth M.Y. Leung and David Dudgeon

   Application of risk analysis to environmental issues in aquaculture (Download 171 kb)
            Michael J. Phillips and Rohana P. Subasinghe

   Introduced marine species risk assessment aquaculture (Download 205 kb)
            Marnie L. Campbell and Chad L. Hewitt

   Guidelines for ecological risk assessment of marine fish aquaculture (Download 241 kb)
            Colin E. Nash, Peter R. Burbridge and John K. Volkman

   Financial risk analysis in aquaculture (Download 901 kb)
            Lotus E. Kam and Pingsun Leung

   Social risks in aquaculture (Download 195 kb)
            Pedro B. Bueno

   Aquaculture insurance industry risk analysis processes (Download 215 kb)
            Philip A.D. Secretan

   Risk analysis in aquaculture experiences from small-scale (Download 240 kb)
   shrimp farmers of India
            N.R. Umesh, C.V. Mohan, M.J. Phillips, B.V. Bhat, G. Ravi Babu, A.B. Chandra Mohan and P.A. Padiyar

              AQUACULTURE, RAYONG, THAILAND, 711 JUNE 2007

   FAO initiatives in risk analysis for aquaculture and aquatic species
   The current project: Application of risk analysis in aquaculture production

   Technical workshop

   Working group findings
   Working Group 1: Development of the contents of the
   Manual on Understanding and Applying Risk Analysis in Aquaculture

   Working Group 2: Identification and grouping of hazard
   categories and assessment methodologies

   Working Group 3: Hazards identification with emphasis
   on social,financial/economic and cultural aspects

   Conclusions and recommendations

   1 Experts and expert profiles
   2 Expert workshop programme
   3 Expert workshop group photo

   Back cover (Download 755 kb)