News & Views
Top trends in hatchery technology
By Nestor Arellano
By Nestor Arellano
Adopting new technologies can improve efficiencies and increase productivity in aquaculture. Some of these innovations are starting to make their way into hatchery operations. We’ve identified some emerging tech trends that promise increased benefits to adoption.
Networked water quality monitors
More and more monitors and sensors will become networked.
Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) is a control system that uses computers, networked data communications and graphical user interfaces to control devices and process data. This architecture is also being used in aquaculture feeding equipment.
For example, InWater Technologies incorporates the concept into its Point4 water quality monitoring product line. The equipment’s remote interface units (RUIs) provide a tank-side interface with internal relays that control devices.
A system back-up ensures that if the SCADA system fails, the facility’s operations are not stalled. The interface keeps operating because control set-points remain stored within it.
Robotics will continue to streamline operations, reduce labour cost, and make operations more efficient in the hatchery.
All handling of fish feed create dust, and dust create problems, says Peder Anders Rød, sales manager at Vard Aqua Sunndal AS. The dust created from the handling of the feed has a negative impact on water quality, which in turn is detrimental to overall fish health and welfare.
Vard’s automatic Exact Feeding Robot is an autonomous robot that cuts the dust created by manual feeding. This reduces the need for cleaning clogged systems which causes stress among fish.
The plug-and-play system calculates feed quantities automatically, based on information about the biomass registered in its control system. The system also uses an RFID-enhanced tracking system that positions the robot for optimal feed dispersion.
AI, remote and mobile integration
The COVID-19 pandemic and its staffing restrictions will only serve to cement the importance of remote sensing devices coupled with artificial intelligence (AI), according to George Nardi of Innovasea.
For example, the accurate assessment of fish weight and length in a pen used to be a labour-intensive manual procedure. Innovasea’s biomass camera is a submersible device. It uses an AI engine that takes a sampling of the fish in a tank and measures the size and weight of each fish. Using stored biological data, the device calculates the overall biomass in the tank.
This data helps users determine efficient feeding formulas and the range of fish sizes in the facility.
Increasingly, devices and monitors such as this will come with mobile integration, which will allow them to be controlled remotely using mobile devices. The data collected are then automatically stored in the cloud.