OTAQ takes stake in AI tech business

U.K.-based aquaculture and offshore industries technology group OTAQ has made a USD 300,000 (EUR 247,260) equity investment in Blue Lion Labs Ltd., a Canadian data management and software company.

Blue Lion was established in 2018 to develop solutions to water-quality challenges, including real time monitoring of harmful organisms in water, with the aim to deliver more sustainable food sources.

In addition to the deal, which will see OTAQ hold a 10 percent interest in Blue Lion, the two companies have signed cooperation and licensing agreements which will allow OTAQ to incorporate Blue Lion's specialty in artificial intelligence (AI) technology to analyze plankton monitoring data at fish farms.

This will support the development of OTAQ’s plankton/algae bloom early detection system designed for Scotland’s aquaculture sector, with a view towards commercialization in the next 18 months.

The companies said the collaboration is focused on addressing the USD 3.4 billion (EUR 2.8 billion) damage and losses caused to the global aquaculture industry by harmful organisms. Their intention is to create a solution that will combine their respective expertise to identify harmful levels of phytoplankton by providing real-time information to finfish farmers to allow them to improve welfare and reduce losses. 

OTAQ Chief Executive Phil Newby said that the AI platform developed by Blue Lion will further enhance OTAQ’s ability to deliver a rounded product ahead of schedule.

“They are a dynamic team and we very much look forward to working together on innovative projects which will add vital new management tools for our clients to improve the welfare and productivity of their stock," Newby said.

Blue Lion CEO and Co-Founder Jason Deglint said the investment and collaboration would help his company to develop innovative solutions to global water-quality issues.

“Combining our AI technology with OTAQ's hardware platform and distribution infrastructure will provide both companies with an accelerated path to market," Deglint said. 

Blue Lion already has the support of incubator and mentorship programs including Hatch, the Ocean Startup Challenge, and NEXT Canada.

Photo courtesy of OTAQ


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