Driving digital aquaculture
It is only a matter of time before big data combined with tools like artificial intelligence and machine learning will transform how we farm salmon. Grieg Seafood Precision Farming is all about providing the farmers with facts and information, supporting them in making better farming decisions.
"Our digital platform combining data analytics and smart algorithms will support farmers with real-time data that can improve decision-making."
Chief Digital Officer
“Grieg Seafood Precision Farming will help us learn more about the relationship between the fish and the environment in and around the farm,” says Trond Kathenes. He is the Chief Digital Officer of Grieg Seafood.
“Until now, farmers have made decisions on experience-based competence. That has proven successful in many ways. Talented practitioners in the industry have taken salmon farming to the forefront of the global aquaculture industry,” he says.
Going forward, a digital platform, combining data analytics and smart algorithms, will support farmers with real-time data that can improve decision-making in everyday farming. “It will allow us to predict an event in advance, enabling us to take measures proactively,” Kathenes explains.
Grieg Seafood’s digitalization journey started back in 2011. The company has simplified five different IT environments down to one, and has harmonized the type and the way it collects data. Now, Grieg Seafood has comparable data throughout the group.
“Today we can analyze different parameters that influence how our salmon grows,” says Kathenes.
In 2018, Grieg Seafood opened a pilot for a Farming operational center at Finnøy in Rogaland. In 2020, the company aims to establish a full-scale operational center in the neighborhood.
The operational center will automatically acquire and analyze data on the environmental conditions in and around the farms, such as temperature, oxygen, salinity and currents. The center will also monitor and operate the infrastructure onboard the barges.
“Our goal is to detect biological challenges at an early stage and implement mitigating measures. That will allow us to optimize the environment around the fish to keep appetite and growth at high levels for as much time as possible,” says Roy Evan Strømskag, manager at the operational center.
“With the new digital solutions, we can learn why some pens have slower growth than others, and under which conditions they will perform better,” he elaborates.
FISH WELFARE AND SEA LICE CONTROL
In the long term, the Grieg Seafood aims to control a variety of farming tasks from the center. Big data and artificial intelligence can help optimize both fish welfare and sea lice control.
Together with other salmon farming companies, Grieg Seafood is transferring data daily to the AquaCloud project initiated by the NCE Seafood Innovation Cluster. Utilizing IBM Watson analytics, the AquaCloud service is able to predict the sea lice exposure on site level one, two and three weeks in advance.
“We hope to be able to predict incidents in advance and avoid the event entirely. With such knowledge, we may perhaps be able to add sea lice skirts to the pens when it is predicted that sea lice are coming, and avoid sea lice treatments,“ Strømskag explains.
A CULTURE OF CURIOSITY
Digital aquaculture will create new tasks for people at the farms.
“We will not need less employees as a result of increasing digitalization. Our people at the farms will rather do different things, such as maintenance and calibration of technical equipment,” says Trond Kathenes.
He believes digital success is about getting people, processes and technology to work smarter and better together, fulfilling the goals of the business.
“We need to foster a culture of curiosity, where people ask different type of questions and are challenged in different ways than before.”