CE Seafood Innovation Cluster represents a large number of seafood companies, in addition to the major research establishments Bergen. This spring, the cluster launched Aquacloud, a project designed to pool data from major fish farmers in order to combat sea lice more effectively.
Lerøy Seafood, Marine Harvest, Grieg Seafood, Bremnes Seashore and Norway’s Institute of Marine Research are among the entities sharing data. Together, they form an artificial intelligence that is destined to become the sea louse’s worst enemy.
“Those working out on the farms have an invaluable expertise and professional instinct. This must be tied into the opportunities technology provides to give us the best possible basis for making decisions,” says general manager Tanja Hoel of the NCE Seafood Innovation Cluster.
Rapid lice warnings
The problem with sea lice ebbs and flows, and sometimes explodes into an epidemic. It would be extremely beneficial to have advance warning of such epidemics. Data collected from lice counts, weather forecasts, temperature fluctuations and water current conditions are all input into Aquacloud. Data from all the individual salmon cages belonging to the fish farmers is collected in the database. This is analysed and forms a basis for rapid lice warnings and effective strategies.
“This is information right down to the nearest sea cage level. Aquacloud will also tell us which delousing methods work best.”
A battle that will be won
Hoel points out that the aquaculture industry is engaged in a constant process of radical change. Improved vaccines, the practical elimination of antibiotic use, the release of larger smolt and fish feed modifications have all been effective against the sea louse.
“Aquacloud will take us to the next level in this battle.
And it is a battle that we are going to win,” says the head of the seafood cluster in Bergen.
In 2015, NCE Seafood Innovation Cluster was named a National Centre of Expertise (NCE), by the Norwegian government. The seafood cluster comprises a large number of organisations in the seafood and aquaculture sectors, including both industry locomotives and specialist suppliers. The aim of the cluster is to ensure the further sustainable growth of the Norwegian aquaculture and seafood industries. The cluster provides employment and value creation along the entire coastline, and represents 70 per cent of Norway’s total production of farmed salmon.
The Nofima report entitled “Cost drivers in salmon farming” (October 2015) concluded that sea lice cost the industry NOK 3-4 billion per year. These costs include inspections, cleaner fish, net cleaning, delousing and a higher feed factor.
Several industry analysts point out that one important factor – lost growth – was not included. If this factor is added to the equation, the overall loss could more than double to over NOK 10 billion.
Havforskningsinstituttet gjennomførte i 2016 i alt 1379 fartøydøgn på egne forskningsfartøy. I tillegg kommer 695 fartøydøgn på innleide skip.
(Source: Institute of Marine Research)
Aquaculture represents one of the fastest-growing food industries in the whole world. The volume of farmed salmon and trout produced in Norway has risen from a modest 7,980 tonnes in 1980 to 1,380,000 tonnes in 2015. (Source: NHH)