Google parent company collaborating with Mowi on Tidal fish monitoring tech

Published on
March 11, 2020

Norwegian seafood company Mowi and Google parent company Alphabet have been working under the radar for the past three years to research and test new sensing technology for aquaculture operations, and are preparing a roll-out of the new system in multiple locations in Norway.

The advanced underwater sensing and software analysis platform developed by Tidal – a team within Alphabet’s X program focused on ocean health and sustainability team – gathers real-time intelligence on salmon growth, weight distribution, feeding control, and performs automatic sea lice counting. The system uses a combination of new camera technology as well as machine learning to track and model fish behaviors, environmental conditions, and the health of salmon over time.

“Mowi’s vision is to be leading the Blue Revolution," Mowi CEO Ivan Vindheim said. "As the biggest salmon farmer in the world, we have a special responsibility to engage in the development of technology to improve our competitive advantage and to optimize our farming of healthy and sustainable food from the ocean. Thus, it is very encouraging to work with Tidal to further develop ocean farming technology."

According to Tidal, its ultimate goal is to protect the world’s oceans from pollution, unsustainable fishing practices, and rapid acidification – but first, technology needs to be developed that can withstand ocean environments so researchers can explore these issues further.

“We decided to start working on a small corner of this problem: exploring new tools that could provide useful information to fish farmers looking for environmentally friendly ways to run and grow their operations,” Tidal General Manager Neil Davé said. “Fish have a low carbon footprint relative to other sources of animal protein and they play a critical role in feeding three billion people today, so helping fish farmers could prove critical both for humanity and for the health of the ocean.”

According to Davé, the project will help fish farm managers make better decisions based on significant data instead of “the health and welfare decisions for thousands of fish are based on observing a few individual fish that are taken out of the water and manually inspected.”

A Tidal spokesperson contacted by SeafoodSource would not elaborate on the testing and researching process, or when the technology was going to be rolled out across Mowi operations. But in a press release, Davé explained how the new technology could help fish farmers operate more efficiently.

“Our software can track and monitor thousands of individual fish over time, observe and log fish behaviors like eating, and collect environmental information like temperature and oxygen levels. This kind of information gives farmers the ability to track the health of their fish and make smarter decisions about how to manage the pens — like how much food to put in the pens, which we hope can help reduce both costs and pollution,” Davé said.

In late February, Mowi announced that it is launching its new Mowi Pure Salmon premium line on Amazon.com’s delivery division, AmazonFresh. To coincide with the launch, Mowi is also planning to utilize YouTube, where the company will collaborate with 19 partners through 2020 to create video content that will help educate consumers on how to cook and handle the product.

Photo courtesy of Tidal

Reporting from Portland, Oregon

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