Aquatech company Bluegrove has been awarded a €3.5m grant and investment package to support the development and commercialization of its Welfare Shield technology.
Brussels’ support package is made up of a €2.5m grant and a €1m planned investment.
According to a press release issued by the company, Bluegrove’s hardware platform for feeding is already being used by a number of prominent producers. The same sensors that are currently used to optimize feeding will – through new machine learning analysis in Welfare Shield – be used to measure stress levels and early detection of disease outbreaks by observing changes in swimming patterns combined with objective appetite-measurements.
The technology will be used to help reduce mortality rates and improve the health and welfare of farmed fish through early detection of welfare challenges.
“With hundreds of thousands of fish in a cage, it is impossible for a human operator to monitor all the individuals, let alone find changes in behavioral patterns. With our digital technology and deep learning mechanism, we are able to understand what the fish are telling us, enabling farmers to act upon deep insights,” said Bluegrove CEO Bendik Søvegjarto.
The company claims this technology will allow producers to feed on demand, which means less feed is wasted and utilization of growth potential. This cuts both feed costs and feed waste onto the seabed, which in turn reduces the environmental impact of aquaculture.
“This is a European Championship in innovation, and it is impressive what Bluegrove has achieved. The company offers a solution to major challenges that can be effectively transferred across national borders”, said Håkon Haugli, CEO of Innovation Norway, who has supported Bluegrove’s application.
“Both fish farmers and investors in aquaculture will be reassured by Brussels’ active engagement with and increasing support for aquaculture’s efforts to become a sustainable animal-centered industry that treats the animals it rears with respect,” said Søvegjarto.
“By using cutting edge technology to improve our understanding of bioprocesses that occur in aquaculture, the industry will be able to produce more seafood in ways that are ethically sound, productive and environmentally friendly.”