Asia buying new Norwegian technology

In 2009, researchers from the Institute of Marine Research (IMR), the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima) and the University of Oslo began refining, integrating and testing new technology for monitoring the environmental conditions in salmon cages.

New technology, the probe buoy  New Norwegian technology can now provide precise measurements of conditions in the sea cage. (Photo: Institute of Marine Research)

 

A sturdy monitoring device placed inside the cage transmits continual readings from different water depths via the mobile phone network to a database for automated analysis. This data gives a fish farmer a complete picture of how his salmon are thriving, online and in real time. Today’s cages can be as deep as 30 m or more, so an overview of fish welfare is next to impossible without an automated monitoring system.

How it works

A control unit buoy floats in the centre of the cage. At regular intervals, the unit automatically lowers a profiling probe to the depths of the cage to measure temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, chlorophyll (fluorescence) and suspended solids in the water (turbidity). A second probe measures incoming seawater quality and current speed.

(Screenshot from www.imr.no/welfaremeter) A speedometer-type reading of fish welfare makes it simple to monitor environmental conditions in the cage. (Screenshot from www.imr.no/welfaremeter)

To assess the environmental conditions the fish are actually experiencing and how they are reacting to variations in these conditions, an echo sounder was developed to record fish density at various depths in the cage each time a water profile is taken. The researchers have even developed instruments that provide detailed data on the breathing patterns of the salmon to indicate stress levels.

The data from the environmental measurements, fish positioning and stress levels are collated and analysed in models also developed by the researchers. The data are displayed in colours and graphs, or can be viewed on the Welfaremeter, which resembles a speedometer.

Vital feedback

“Assessing fish welfare accurately requires knowing the water conditions down where the fish actually are,” explains researcher Lars Helge Stien of IMR.

Lars Helge Stien Lars Helge Stien, IMR. (Photo: Torkil Marsdal Hanssen)

“We know that water conditions can vary greatly at different points within a cage, which single-point measurements do not detect. For example, in-cage oxygen saturation could be at a dangerously low level even when the dissolved oxygen reading just outside the cage is 100 per cent.”

The new tools provide a far more accurate picture than was previously possible, making it easier to detect the causes of stress reactions, disease outbreak, increased mortality or appetite loss.

“This technology will enable producers to optimise fish welfare and thus optimise both salmon production and profits,” concludes Stien.

Two probe units were purchased by Norwegian producers during the development phase. The first commercial-series units, all of which have been ordered by Chinese producers, are now being manufactured.

Facts about the WELFARE-TOOLS project

When fish thrive, they grow faster and are more disease-resistant and less stress-sensitive. The objective of the project “New tools for online overall assessment of rearing environment, stress level, and fish welfare in Atlantic salmon cage farms (WELFARE-TOOLS)” was to develop technology for a comprehensive monitoring system to ensure the well-being of farmed salmon in their cages.

  • Project Owner: Institute of Marine Research (IMR)
  • Project manager: Tore S. Kristiansen
  • Project period: 2009-2011
  • Partners: Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima), University of Oslo Department of Physics
  • Funding: The Research Council of Norway’s HAVBRUK programme, the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (FHF), Bergen Teknologioverføring AS, the EU project FASTFISH, and Northern Trøndelag county
 

Related news

Latest news

New contract: Windcat 41 - no 17 in the Servogear series

Servogear announces the signing of a new contract with Windcat Workboats BV for the delivery of Servogear Controllable Pitch Propellers (CPP)  for their new vessel Windcat 41. 

Seacat Enterprise to be launched January 12th

Seacat Services, is preparing to launch its first High Speed Utility Vessel (HSUV), Seacat Enterprise at January 12th.

Norsafe Signs Contract with the Swedish Coast Guard (KBV)

On Wednesday 21st December, Norsafe signed yet another new contract with the Swedish Coast Guard (KBV) to deliver nine new Magnum 750 MKII boats.

A Unique Second-generation Tomograph is Developed

A new gamma-ray tomograph designed to image up to 4” diameter pipes, is developed by CMR Prototech for the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) in Canada.

Sohome launches a new website

Sohome has launched a new website that makes it easier to find key information. 

Sohome AS receives orders for Johan Sverdrup Project

Sohome AS is proud to be a sub-contractor to Intelecom AS for the Johan Sverdrup Project. 

New 55'' Ultra High Definition Chart and Planning table passes Type Approval testing

Most advanced maritime display system ever produced, the 55'' Ultra High Definition Chart & Planning table, enables Integrated Bridge System manufacturers to develop new multi-data solutions.

Norsafe's experience in the Polar Code Pays Off

In readiness for the introduction of the Polar code, Norsafe has become the first LSA supplier to have executed full scale tests and trials 

Øglænd System Group winner of Business of the Year Award

Øglænd System Group won the Business of the Year Award in the Stavanger-region 2016.