Is the start-up company succeeding with this huge goal?
The core of CageEye’s feeding technology has been originally developed by the Institute of Marine Research. It uses sound-based sensors and machine learning to oberve salmon behavior, seeking to get to know the fish. This, in turn, will increase growth by 20 per-cent, reduce feed waste to zero while reducing mortality by two per-cent, the company claims.
One of the salmon farmers who has tried out CageEye’s automated feeding is Lingalaks, based near Bergen, Western Norway.
Better and cheaper
“Feeding is a big part of the cost to us, 40-50 percent. And if they can do this better than us, it’s interesting. But it must be better and cheaper than us,” CEO Erlend Haugarvoll told SalmonBusiness.
“The costs must be reduced in farming. We’re looking for technology that can make it cheaper. We have discussed some automation of feeding. We believe in that. But at the moment we only have an internal feeding centre,” he said.
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Norway Royal Salmon (NRS) is currently testing this technology. Executive vice president Klaus Hatlebrekke did not want to say much about the experience so far.
“We don’t have enough experience. We’ve tested it and tried it, but I can’t say anything more than that,” Hatlebrekke said.
Mowi is also among the test customers.
“We do not wish to comment specifically on CageEye or their ambitions,” said communications manager Ola-Helge Hjetland. “Using sensors to improve and streamline production is very exciting, and we will see a huge development in this field over the next few years. There are a number of companies that provide or want to provide services of this type to the aquaculture industry. As is known, we are working with one of the leading players,” he added.
Who this is leading player?
“Alphabet company Tidal,” Hjetland replied.
- Read more: For three years, Mowi has been secretly working on a new AI sensing system developed by Google’s parent company Alphabet
CageEye had a turnover of EUR 0.4 million in 2019. The company feeds fish on 52 Norwegian salmon sites, equivalent to 1.5 per-cent of the country’s total number of cages. But this is just the beginning. As early as 2024, the company expects to operate 1,775 cages, equivalent to 46 per-cent of the country’s total.
To speed up the sales process, CageEye is using NorseAqua, which the company took over last autumn. NorseAqua, which sells, develops and produces equipment for fish farming, will be used to “cross-sell” CageEye’s advanced feeding solutions.
This will provide explosive sales growth, predicted CageEye.
“Experience from underwater lights has shown that it takes 1.5 years from the launch of new technology (e.g. LED-lights) to 3x expansion, provided benefits provided by solution are confirmed,” the company’s confidentially stamped business plan stated.
Based on this, CageEye, or Bluegrove as the company now calls itself, expects to trade for EUR 52.1 million in this segment alone in 2025.
And it doesn’t stop there.
“Our technology enables us to increase the yearly salmon production to 47,000 tonnes by 2024, providing us with an EBIT of EUR 65 million the same year, and the world with 375 million extra meals a year given our projected market adoption. Including additional species, our TAM is expected to further expand to 5x by 2030, with growth potential increasing in the following decades,” it was further stated in the business plan.
It’s an ambitious goal. But is it realistic?
“We do not comment on material from anonymous sources. Making assumptions from this material is not something we support. When we have something to say, we would be happy to speak to you again,” replied CageEye’s head of communications Marloes Eshuis, on behalf of CEO Bendik Søvegjarto.
CageEye, however, isn’t just settling for salmon feeding.
The company sees greater opportunities in the field of prawn farming. Overall, the company aims for a turnover in salmon, shrimp and “future acquisitions” of EUR 202 million within five years. That means an 80-fold increase in sales from 2019 to 2025.
- Read more: By 2023, CageEye projects €54 million in sales from shrimp feeding, but last year they didn’t turnover a cent
SalmonBusiness has also contacted SalMar and Lerøy for commentary on their experiences with CageEye’s feeding solutions. None of them have yet answered our inquiries.