"Aquaculture, not the Internet, represents the most promising investment opportunity of the 21st Century."
- Peter Drucker, Management Expert & Economist
- Peter Drucker, Management Expert & Economist
The next generation of RAS aquaculture
The increasing number of aquaculture facilities based on Recirculating
Aquaculture Systems (RAS) technology, both already operating and under
construction, is testament to the fact that this technology is proving to be
highly advantageous. Neder Snir, CTO of AquaMaof Aquaculture Technologies, explores
the advanced RAS techniques and technologies that will be employed in the next
generation of land-based aquaculture installations, discussing the company's
unique, multidisciplinary approach to indoor fish production.
Much has been written about the rapid increase in the number of onshore
aquaculture facilities. This is due to several factors, among them increased
demand for seafood due to population growth and a greater understanding of the
nutritional benefits of eating fish; increased pollution of seas and oceans and
overfishing, resulting in a decline in fish populations around the globe; and a
growing awareness of the significant environmental advantages of
closed-containment, RAS-based aquaculture technology. It is this last element
that is the key to securing a sustainable future for aquaculture.
Advantages of RAS
Leading the way to
advanced RAS-based installations.
• 100 percent of the recirculated water from the fish tanks is processed
through the main filtering complex
• Fish channel for fish transfer through water - an economical, simple
and safe way to move large numbers of fish through the production chain, from
stocking to grading, to market.
A technological revolution
So, what will the next generation of RAS-based aquaculture facilities look like? As in almost any other industrial field, nextgen aquaculture will harness existing advanced technologies operations and improve facility performance in a variety of ways. Here are some examples of how this will be achieved.
The next generation of land-based aquaculture installations will make much more extensive use of automation, in two main areas:
• Computerisation systems, used for information gathering, analysis,
troubleshooting, raising alerts, and inventory management - these will
automatically provide crucial, real time data for operators and management.
This automation and data insight will result in key advantages:
it will allow us to increase the level of quality assurance; it will enable the successful operation of much larger installations; and it will allow for better utilisation of environmental conditions and enhanced understanding of the intricate dynamics between fish performance and RAS components.
By carrying out a process of site-specific optimisation, we aim to tailor each fish-farm facility to the specific site, resulting in a reduction in the space required and the streamlining of all stages of the work process.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI technologies will be used in the very near future. AquaMaof has begun to develop AI, using data mining and analytics in three stages:
Stage One - The facility's main data processor collects vast amounts of information that will be fed into a centralised AI system for analysis, to produce indicators on which future decision can be based;
Stage Two - The system will be 'taught' to recognise and predict patterns, using machine learning techniques to identify problematic processes. This knowledge will allow the system to generate predictions and early warnings of imminent malfunction;
Stage Three - The system will become 'independent', with a certain degree of control that will enable it to deal independently or request permission to deal with any problems that are detected and prevent them before a malfunction occurs.
Advanced technologies will be employed to monitor criteria such as water and environmental conditions, to enable more accurate control of all relevant parameters for the system and for the fish themselves, resulting in lower production costs and improved quality of the final product.
Process improvements and enhancements
Almost every stage of the process will be updated and improved, including feeding, lighting and colour, microbiological biome control, tank-flow dynamics, and interaction of biological and chemical processes in the water. This will enhance overall production efficiency and allow upscaling of the facilities, resulting in reduced costs of production. Since 2016, AquaMaof has owned a RAS-based facility designed and built by the company in Poland, of which private equity fund 8F has recently become joint-owner. Located near Warsaw, Poland, this facility serves as our R&D and training centre, giving us the unique capability to continue to rapidly develop our landbased indoor aquaculture solutions. We are currently conducting trials with a whole range of advanced technologies, with the aim of creating a complete ecosystem that incorporates a variety of different technologies into RAS technology, to further streamline the process, reduce operating costs and reduce the carbon footprint of each future installation. We are already growing Atlantic salmon to market size (of between five-to-six kilogrammes) there. These are exciting times in the field of aquaculture, with new technologies increasingly being deployed to enhance the whole process, from A to Z. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies and tailoring them to the needs of the industry, we ensure that aquaculture installations of the future will be more sustainable, deliver improved efficiency and productivity, and reduced costs while enhancing fish quality.