Too few aquaculture businesspersons and scientists understand economics and marketing on the level necessary to adapt to changing economic conditions and times. In the past, profit margins were such that businesses could survive without on-going monitoring and analysis of the farm’s business performance, but that is no longer the case for many segments of aquaculture.
I have devoted more than 30 years to studying the economics, management, and marketing of aquaculture. However, what is more important is that I have had the good fortune to work closely with aquaculture producers and businessmen throughout my career. My hope for this column is that it may provide some assistance to both established aquaculture businesses and those considering starting an aquaculture business. I welcome any and all feedback and suggestions for topics to be covered.
One of the goals for this column in its first year is to lay out a series of clear guidelines for aquaculture producers in terms of how to spot financial problems early on. Doing so can point to interventions that are less difficult than when the problems have become quite severe.
A second goal for this year is to introduce aquaculture producers and scientists to various types of economic and marketing concepts that are useful for charting an economically viable path for the business, especially during challenging economic times. Over the course of this next year, individual columns will discuss the following topics: 1) the three pillars of financial success for aquaculture businesses; 2) a checklist of financial health for aquaculture businesses; 3) profitability: are you evaluating it correctly?; 4) world and U.S. demand and supply relationships for seafood: implications for aquaculture producers; and 5) guidelines for selecting the appropriate type of marketing strategy for your aquaculture business: what are the trade-offs among various alternative strategies?