Aquaculture needs to invest more in its reputation. That was the conclusion of an instant poll during the aquaculture conference AquaVision in Stavanger, Norway, on Tuesday 8 June.
Voting in the audience were the top leaders of the world’s main fish farming companies and aquaculture stakeholders.
“The perception you earn among the public does not necessarily give the objective truth about our business, but it is nonetheless our responsibility. It is vitally important to fill any such gaps, which include not only perception gaps, but more importantly the quality gaps. A bad industry reputation may have serious consequences for our industry,” said Thomas Farstad, acting CEO Marine Harvest, the world largest fish farming company.
According to the poll, both he and his top executive colleagues are willing to invest more than today in order to strengthen the reputation of aquaculture.
Farstad asked for the same interest in operational improvements, as in improved communication.
Transparency is vital
Answering a further question in the poll, aquaculture leaders at AquaVision stated fish feed raw materials, diseases and parasites, and escapes are the most important challenges for the industry from a perception point of view.
“Transparency is crucial. You have to tell the truth, and then show that you are taking action to remedy what ever is not good enough. Talking the talk is not enough. Prove it by also walking the walk,” Farstad said.
Act in Time
“Some of them out there may hate you, but they’re still not marching against you. You still have the time to turn the opinion,” said Harriet Mouchly–Weiss of Kreab Gavin Anderson Worldwide in the following presentation.
The audience certainly agreed. In the poll 84% answered “no” to the question “Are you satisfied with how the industry manages its reputation today?”
“Then go for it,” said Mouchly–Weiss.