Good technology results in good biology
Aquaculture will be an essential factor in the challenge facing food production for a global population, which according to WHO will reach 9.7 billion in 2050. This makes it essential to enable a sustainable and efficient industry that recognizes the value of investing in development, for example in innovative net cleaning systems.
Fish and seafood are far more sustainable and have a lower carbon footprint than meat and dairy products. Research shows that one kilogram of salmon fillet from farming to wholesaler has emissions of approx. 2.5 CO2 equivalents, the unit used in greenhouse gas accounts to compare emissions. The carbon footprint of farmed salmon is thus far lower than for example the production of beef (30 CO2 equivalents per kilogram) and pork (5.9 CO2 equivalents).
“Using the sea as the new larder to feed a growing population with lots of healthy nutrients, good sources of protein, and not least Omega-3 and numerous micro-nutrients, will be one of the great challenges, yet also huge opportunities we have,“ claims EAT founder and doctor Gunhild Stordalen in an interview with laks.no.
More and more consumers care about where their food comes from, but many are still unaware that salmon is far more climate-friendly than all other typical meat-based meals. This has global consequences, and is definitely something one should take into account when planning dinner.
Only five per cent of food production is currently from the sea, and this means there is huge potential in a future-oriented industry. The aquaculture industry has its challenges, but these are issues that can be resolved. Technology is the foremost solution in connection with this, and currently vast resources are being spent on innovation in the industry.
Netcleaning for welfare and value
Billions of dollars are being invested in the fish farming industry around the world. Rationalization of the operation of fish farming facilities is an incredibly important element in connection with this, and a natural step is thus to ensure improved and more efficient net cleaning, which is an area firmly in AKVA group's sights.
“Why is net cleaning important for sustainable farming of healthy fish?
“The difference between a clean net and a dirty one is huge, and is very important for fish welfare, health and overall performance. Increased net fouling reduces the water flow and may lead to oxygen deficiency for the fish. Less oxygen in the cage leads to increased metabolism and higher stress levels, which reduce feed intake and in severe case may lead to increased mortality,” Guttorm Lange from AKVA group explains.
Profit is also at stake when nets are not properly maintained. A clean net reduce the risk of fish escapes keeping the fish safeguarded. The forces of the sea current, often constitutes 70-75% of the total forces on the whole site. The load on the nets, cages and moorings is multiplied when the nets are heavily fouled compared to cleaned nets. Clean nets prevents overloading the cages and eliminate the risk of breakdowns and ruptures in the nets.
“Another aspect of poor cleaning is the cleaner fish, who naturally feed on the fouling. If there is a lot of fouling, they become less effective with regard to removing sea lice from the salmon. We also know that fouling may be a reservoir for various types of parasites, bacteria and viruses – and there is a suspicion that this also applies to sea lice. There's a reason we clean our homes and wash our clothes – it's to get rid of bacteria. Facilitating an optimal environment in the pen ensures better welfare, increased growth and lower mortality. Good welfare results in good health, which in turn results in good economy,” Lange concludes.
Cooperation for rationalization
So, clean nets are without doubt an important factor to improve efficiency in aquaculture. The next question goes without saying; how does one ensure optimal net cleaning? AKVA group has recently invested heavily in this area, and has entered into productive partnerships with two Norwegian companies with extensive expertise that can contribute to a much more efficient cleaning; ROV manufacturer Sperre and pump supplier KCC Power System.
“AKVA group has close contact with players in the fish farming industry all over the world, and knows the challenges they are facing in this area. For a number of years we have supplied modern sensor systems that monitor the pens and that provide relevant information with regard to what is correct in terms of the cleaning process. Now we're working to make it even easier to clean nets more frequently, more thoroughly and more gently,” says Roy Magne Ohren, sales manager with AKVA group.
The market's most gentle cleaner
Sperre AS, of which AKVA group acquired 66 per cent in the autumn of 2016, has developed Flying Net Cleaner 8. This is set to be an important tool for those seeking to rationalize and modernise their cleaning procedure.
“The AKVA FNC8 net cleaner is a safe, powerful ROV net cleaner that is easy to operate. It can be operated both remotely at the cage and from the control room. This is the market's most gentle net cleaner, as it uses lower pressure and less water than all other comparable solutions. At the same time, due to a lack of sharp wheels or belts that can damage the net, it is far better in terms of wear on the net line, mesh and risk of escape. This is something both farmers, service companies and others have been asking for,” Ohren says.
FNC8 is based on a patent pending principle that ensures that the rig is in balance regardless of whether it cleans horizontally, vertically or upside down. This makes it easy for the operator to select the cleaning direction that is most appropriate, regardless of which type of net one is dealing with.
“The speed of the cleaning rig is important for those performing the job. FNC8 can achieve a cleaning efficiency that far exceeds what is currently available. FNC8's ease of use is also superior in that several automated features are built-in, and advanced camera systems and sensors monitor the cleaning,” Ohren says.
Customized high pressure cleaning
The products KCC Power System will supply to yards, fish farming facilities, service companies and other players in the aquaculture industry are high-pressure pump systems that are used for net cleaning, hull cleaning and ring cleaning, among other things. The company is also the sole distributor of the rugged German KAMAT products, which have an excellent reputation.
“These are relatively similar pump devices to those we previously have supplied to offshore and onshore customers, but optimised for use in aquaculture. The fact that KCC does the design and assembly/production at our own premises affords the systems great flexibility with regard to necessary changes or customer requests. We can resolve most challenges in the area, and can offer flexible, customized solutions to all, regardless of whether they are standard systems in a container or built-in pump systems on boats,” technical manager Kjetil Horve emphasizes.
“Our experience so far is that players in aquaculture have the same desires and requirements as our offshore customers: High quality, stable uptime, small footprint, minimal vibration/noise, easy installation and maintenance, a good service organization, and requirements toward good documentation. We know the working conditions in the fish farming industry and can supply what the customers need for cleaning,” Tor Paust-Andersen of KCC concludes.
Global technology and transfer of expertise
As was apparent from the RIO20+ conference: 1 billion people around the globe go hungry, while another 1 billion people are overweight. Aquaculture can play a key role in resolving both of these global issues, but this requires the development of sustainable solutions worldwide. In many ways, salmon farming is the driving force in the development of aquaculture technology, but aquaculture is a lot more than salmon, which actually comprises just 3,6 per cent of global seafood production.
“There is a risk of a gap widening between salmon farming, which invests large amounts in developing technology and innovation, and the farming of other species. At the moment, there is little efforts from the governments to transfer knowledge and solutions to ex. developing countries. This is a challenge for global aquaculture, yet also a huge opportunity,” claims Trond Severinsen, COO Exports, AKVA group.
Challenges with fouling in warmer climates are often many times worse than in salmon farming which is a cold water species. We have provided facilities in the Persian Gulf with sea temperatures up to 35 degrees, and where the nets can be completely overgrown by shells and algae within a few months. There is no other effective way to clean these nets other than utilizing modernized net cleaning technology.
Achieving global industrialization of the aquaculture industry through the transfer of technology and expertise from salmon farming to other species is incredibly difficult, but the potential is huge. This particularly applies when one considers that the development of future-oriented and sustainable aquaculture in low-tech countries, where capital is scarce, can be very beneficial to society, both by creating jobs and countering poverty, and also by ensuring better access to climate-friendly high protein food in poorer parts of the world.
“It will be a difficult job that requires that one uses extensive resources for education, training and the transfer of expertise, as well as adapting salmon farming technology to other types of fish farming. AKVA group is working hard to do our part in this global initiative. Our goal is to be more than just a supplier of technology – we want to be a partner whom along with everyone else in the industry ensures continuous progress and development,” Severinsen says.
The aquaculture industry does have challenges, and there is always a need for rationalization and development in order to help feed a growing population. This requires forward-looking players who focus on innovation, and who provide what the industry needs to succeed.
“AKVA group's goal is to be a profitable supplier of solutions and service that contributes to improve our customers' bottom line and sustainability. Simply put, we want to be your technology and service partner in global aquaculture, and we can supply everything from complete onshore and sea-based fish farming facilities to cutting edge cleaning systems,” says Roy Magne Ohren.