rones are mostly found up in the air, but the drone developed by the company SeaSmart is intended to sink down into the deep. It performs measurements and is packed full of high-tech sensors.
“Fish farmers have had very little information about how the fish in the sea cages are getting on. Conditions can be very different at two metres than 15 metres down. Our drone measures oxygen content, temperature, salinity and light levels at various depths in the sea cage. It also records where the fish are swimming in the cage. These are important data, which help the fish farm’s operators to make the right decisions,” says Andreas Morland.
The drone is battery powered and moves freely down through the sea cage. It sinks by taking on water. At the bottom, the water is pumped out, so the drone can rise towards the surface. Along the way it performs continuous measurements, which are accessible online as soon as the drone breaks the surface. The vast amounts of data are processed and sent to the fish farmers in the form of daily or weekly reports.
The information is extremely useful when the fish farming company is planning the fish’s feeding regime or delousing treatment. It monitors fish welfare and increase the company’s profits.
Andreas Morland is a true entrepreneur, with a background in geophysics and electronic engineering. He is part of the exciting community that makes up the
NCE Seafood Innovation Cluster in Bergen, where he works in the Innovation Park at Marineholmen. His idea for the drone was given a warm welcome and he has received a total of NOK 850,000 in financial support from various schemes managed by Innovation Norway. Private investors have put money into the company, and now SeaSmart has a number of customers in the aquaculture industry.
The drone solves two major problems
“Our drone actual solves two major problems. One is access to critical data about the fish. The other is that we eliminate much of the maintenance and responsibility associated with other ways of gathering data. Cables and equipment can cause a lot of trouble and strife. But fish farmers don’t have to worry about the drone. That’s our responsibility. What we are selling is the information, not the technology itself,” Morland explains.
The primary phase of the aquaculture industry employed the equivalent of 9,621 full-time staff in 2013. In the same year, purchases from the supply industry accounted for 14,678 full-time equivalents in secondary businesses.
60 per cent of all the funds used for marine research in Norway are channelled to public or privately owned research firms and clusters in Bergen.
(Source: NCE Seafood Innovation Cluster)
Norway’s exports of cod, saithe, haddock and other white fish were worth NOK 13.8 billion in 2016. That is an increase of NOK 800 million or 6 per cent from 2015.
(Source: Norwegian Seafood Council)