If you had a fish tank as a kid, you might remember that suspension of flakes in the water that said you had overdone the feeding.
If you have a million salmon swimming around, then you need another way of knowing they’ve stopped feeding. That other way could be the plug-and-play kit of Norwegian outfit CageEye, one of a number of suppliers working on making feeding operations less costly for an industry that still sees feed as the lion’s share of costs per kilogram in farmed fish.
The BBC has reported the company’s acoustic listening device in use by grower Lingalaks in Norway. The company has 3 million salmon swimming around in fjord pens, and when they stop chomping away during feeds, the silence is detectable underwater.
“I think it could improve (feed expenditure) by about five percent,” Lingalaks’s Erlend Haugarvoll was quoted by the BBC as saying. For his operation, that was a reported savings of up to GBP 1.3 million.
CageEye’s CEO Bendik Sovergjarto, told SalmonBusiness that the system’s launch at AquaNor was to select cutomers only, because there was just too much interest in the acoustic sensor tool.
“The problem was that there was higher demand that we could follow-up on. There were too many leads. So, we selected the customers that best suited our current needs,” said Sovergjarto, who studied instrumentation and hydro-acoustics at the University of Oslo.
International companies were interested, too: “There were multiple inbound requests from Chile and Scotland,” he said.
CageEye’s Web site points to the main reason for the innovation: today’s method of knowing when fish are full is less efficient that peering into your fish tank as a kid. It’s based “on subjective observations from the surface” assisted by underwater cameras.
“Video cameras also have high maintenance demands, poor visibility and a reduced and limited depth vision,” the company said. CageEye, in comparison, is “a decision-making tool” for measuring fish appetite.
New business stream
The system, which launches commercially in 2018, is aimed at remote operations. Apart from prompting feeding starts and stops, its sensors can alert growers to unusual fish schooling patterns that might indicate predators or temperature changes.
“Now the plan is develop the product further, follow-up our customers and scale-up where results were especially good.”
CageEye will ship anywhere, it seems, but the systems will be built in Norway by a local manufacturer. SalmonBusiness has asked for a price quote, and one might be forthcoming.
The company lost money in 2016 despite some early turnover on related products. It’ll be interesting to see what impact CageEye sales in 2017 and 2018 will have on this young outfit.