Norway Royal salmon (NRS) has partnered with Microsoft to use artificial intelligence to streamline salmon farming operations.
The two companies, plus the 130-year-old technology company ABB, are developing a technology that uses underwater cameras to collect images of salmon in their pens, then counts them automatically with an artificial intelligence algorithm.
The new technology spares workers from traveling kilometers offshore to monitor the salmon, allowing them to observe fish growth from afar. The remote visual object detection technology can estimate fish biomass and count the fish population, collecting critical data about salmon production. Fewer trips makes working conditions safer for employees while lowering operational costs and reducing the company's carbon footprint.
It's still too early to calculate how much time or money the system saves for NRS, "but we spend a good number of hours on this type of operation," NRS Chief Operations Officer Arve Olav Lervåg told SeafoodSource.
The technology can be used to monitor several different parameters.
"The main principle is that we use a camera underwater that takes pictures of the fish. In this way, we can analyze several parameters of the fish in addition to weight development," Lervåg said. "We also hope to gain better control over weight development through the use of AI."
NRS sells about 70,000 tons of salmon every year and is one of the world's leading salmon producers. Lervåg described the technological advances as a continuation of NRS's longtime focus on research, development, cooperation, and innovation. Several other companies are starting to offer similar solutions, but Lervåg praised Microsoft's and ABB's high level of expertise in the area. Microsoft's Azure cloud and ABB Ability power the technology.
“ABB is fully committed to helping bring about a more sustainable future, and here we’re using AI to revolutionize aquaculture and deliver on that promise,” ABB Chief Digital Officer Guido Jouret said in a statement. “By monitoring fish health and performance, to minimizing environmental impact and reducing operational costs, ABB Ability is enabling NRS to reach a new level of competitiveness.”
The project has developed quickly and was first launched in May 2019.
“All parties embarked on a journey with a strong commitment to a sustainable food future," Microsoft Global AI Specialist Christian Bucher said in a statement. "Only through such co-innovation and co-creation between engineering teams and the customer, could we realize maximum benefits. In just a few months, we went from ideation to the on-site solution installation.”
Photo courtesy of Norway Royal Salmon