FEB 2019 - International Aquafeed magazine

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FISH FARMING TECHNOLOGY on-board operator. Already a booming global industry, Sea Machines’ marine autonomy technologies it’s no secret that aquaculture is on have been designed by a team of mariners the fast-track for massive growth. To specifically to enable and protect today’s keep pace with the nutritional needs hardworking crews. With autonomousof a growing global population, command technology on board, mariners can aquafarms will be pressured to reserve their energy for higher-level tasks – produce higher quantities of seafood leaving the computers to manage redundant and organic materials. As resources and predictable work. Marine autonomy is are stretched, those in the industry available 24/7, doesn’t get tired or distracted, will explore creative new ways of Peter Holm and it works at optimal levels, even in meeting demand while reducing cost. European Director of Sea Machines Robotics challenging sea states. One way the industry can effectively As aquafarms creep farther and farther offshore, marine meet these needs is by adopting modern-day technologies that autonomy reduces transit risks with obstacle avoidance and can improve both operations and output. We hear a lot about the mitigate mariner fatigue with pre-programmed, ECDIS-based opportunities to update netting and fish feeding systems, but route following. Predictable routes can be saved and remotely not so much about updating the capabilities of the aquaculture or autonomously deployed, helping to optimise fish-farm boats themselves. maintenance and other tasks. Workboats, which serve as the life line for aquaculture sites, Redundant vision allows our computers to identify important make up an average of 20 percent of the total costs of fishmarkers and hazards – even when the human eye can’t. And farming operations. Because most marine assets still operate in a when unmanned vessels are warranted, the risks to mariners of highly manual manner, there are substantial gains to be made by over-the-rail transfers or poor weather conditions is eliminated. modernising them with emerging autonomous technologies. Autonomy is already reshaping so many industries, from In the past several years, marine autonomy for commercial auto, rail, mining, agriculture and more. As the value of it is vessels has made great strides. This technology has gone from a repeatedly demonstrated across these sectors, it is only a matter working concept to reality, most recently with the launch of Sea of time before autonomy takes hold of the marine industry, too. Machines’ SM series of autonomous-command and remoteEarly adopters in the aquaculture space are uniquely positioned control products. The SM series – which is now available – to establish themselves as leaders and innovation-seekers, installs quickly aboard new or existing aquaculture workboats while laying the necessary groundwork required to meet rising and immediately improves the capability, performance, global demands. predictability and safety of operations. When considering which new technologies can best help the How? In the case of Sea Machines, our products allow aquaculture industry succeed in the future, marine autonomy workboats to do more with less. Fleets outfitted with SM cannot be ignored. And while selecting the right products products can be operated via remote control from a second for any given operations is key, it’s important to know that boat or shoreside location, or can be operated autonomously. Sea Machines is leading the industry with purpose-built Tandem workboats can work collaboratively, offering the technologies that help workboats operate more productively, benefit of a force-multiplier effect. Remote payload control lets with greater capability and with reduced risk. Those who get on a workboat’s equipment, sensors, feeding systems and cameras to be managed by an offsite worker, eliminating the need for an board early will have the most to gain. The REC Report and Brexit are playing heavily on the UK and not least of all the aquaculture industry. It will be March before we hear where either might lead. One key bit of fish farming technology that is continually evolving and adapting is ROV’s - an important piece of kit used to inspect nets and moorings. As the sea water is no friend to these machines, often they are hired allowing for others to care William for them. This is followed by veterinary practice for when smolt are vaccinated for PD and other ailments and for when fish get adjusted. Underwater cameras and light are used to monitor fish feeding patterns. These are exciting times for Scottish aquaculture and the world, as the industry plans to increase output for 2019. Scottish Sea Farms has open a new hatchery at Barcaldine, helping to increase output from its sea farms. For example, Mowi (formerly Marine Harvest) production is expected to increase to 65,000 tonnes, up 60 percent on the 40,000 tonnes harvested in 2018.

Other news highlights include the world’s largest wellboat, the Ronja Storm by the Norwegian company Solvtrans, has just been built in Turkey and is currently under tow and bound for Havyard in Fosnavag to be completed and then in the summer she will be Tasmania bound, delivered to Houn. The wellboat tanks are more than twice as large as any of the largest currently in service, further evidence in the expected increase in output of salmon worldwide, Houn the largest Dowds Salmon company in Australia farms some of the largest pens at 240-metres. Last but not least, let us all extend a warm welcome to Professor Selina Stead, former Dean, Public Orator and Professor of Marine Governance and Environmental Sciences at Newcastle University. She trained as a lecturer in two social science university departments (1996-2004) in policy analysis and socio-economic surveys. As of the March 1, 2019 Selina has taken the role of Director of the Institute of Aquaculture at Stirling University, the world’s leading aquaculture university, moving from sunny Newcastle.

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