Aquaculture - Business planning, bio-economic modelling and systems design

The company has the technical and business planning skills to take a project through all stages of development, from the conceptual through to the operational.

In essence a business plan provides an overview of the entire operation, and represents a key document for obtaining a right to engage in aquaculture, and is of course also required by any financier or prospective investor. Business plan formats will vary according to client requirements, however, they normally comprise an assessment of the suitability of the proposed site, an evaluation of potential candidate species (status of culture technology, growth rates, food conversion efficiencies etc.), an evaluation and description of the most appropriate culture technologies and a basic farm layout and systems design, a market analysis, an assessment of the human resources required, and permitting requirements. The development of bio-safety, effluent stream characterisation, monitoring and traceability measures may also be required by legislation and for international market penetration (adherence to CODEX alimentarius, FAO Code of Conduct for responsible aquaculture, HACCP and others). With respect to developing detailed estimates of capital investment, projected cash-flows, and generating financial indicators, variables can be based on fixed annual production requirements, or alternatively, bio-economic models can be generated.

Due to the non-linear nature of fish farm economics, bio-economic modelling is the preferred option as it takes into consideration biological variables (e.g growth rates, feed conversion efficiencies, metabolic waste product generation and filter efficiencies) with abiotic variables (e.g tank dimension, water quality, water flow rates) and cost structures (e.g feed costs, labour, electricity, CAPEX cost etc).

The resultant model provides a powerful decision-making tool under which the economic efficiency of different production scenarios can be interrogated.