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International project aims to open up data opportunities for aquaculture

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

An international consortium has begun a pioneering €1.3 million pilot project in Badcall, Scotland, that will accelerate the aquaculture sector’s digital transformation and support the drive towards enhanced sustainability, productivity, and operational efficiency on fish farms.

Led by Japan’s Uhuru United, the consortium includes Amsterdam-listed Signify, Norway’s Optoscale AS, the Scotland-based Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), salmon producer Loch Duart Ltd., and SB Telecom Europe Ltd. Together, the group is creating an “open data” software platform that will provide a single point for fish farmers to interact with and understand the data produced by the variety of technologies on their sites.

Over the last 20 years, there has been significant growth in the amount and diversity of technology used in aquaculture, ranging from fish health diagnostic tools to remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs). However, the vast majority tend to work in isolation, limiting the value of data that can be taken and increasing the amount of time required to monitor operations. 

Known as Aquaculture Insights, the pilot project will tackle this challenge by creating a single software package that combines multiple data sources, offering insights that cannot be provided by existing systems. The initiative will also enhance the visualization and transfer of data from connected devices and systems, beginning with Signify’s underwater LED lighting system and Optoscale’s AI-enabled biomass camera.

“We are delighted to be leading the consortium on this important and ground-breaking project. We first established operations in the UK not just because it is a global center for technological development but also because of its leading credentials in the field of sustainability. As such, this project is a perfect fit, using cutting-edge IoT technologies to best understand how we can maximize the efficiency of food production for a more sustainable future,” Yosuke Kurihara, project director of Uhuru United Ltd., said. “We are also very proud to be working alongside companies from across Europe on a Scotland-based project funded by the EU. Scotland and Japan have built very strong links over the years. Being part of a sustainability project within Scotland is also very apposite with the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow approaching. This is a true post-Brexit project demonstrating how the UK nations can work together to play an important role as a bridge between Europe and the wider world.”

Remco Lansbergen, business leader aquaculture LED lighting at Signify, added that “collaborating under water is the future. With LED lighting we can increase growth, improve the feed conversion ratio of salmon and reduce exposure to sea lice. Making the lighting infrastructure part of an eco-system, along with sensors and data analytics, opens up new possibilities. New data points and interoperability will enable new and advanced use cases and support a self-controlling infrastructure, advancing fish growth in a sustainable way.”

Aquaculture Insights is receiving funding from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), which is part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.

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