Generally the most important task for aquaculture farmers is to maximize feed output while minimizing wasted feed. When feed is wasted, farm profitability, FCR, and local environment are all negatively impacted. Similarly, underfeeding slows farm growth.
Currently, aquaculture addresses this balance by relying heavily on human intuition and interpretations of existing data streams found on sites. Farmers spend their entire day monitoring their stock on video screens, looking for changes in fish behaviour to try and determine the fish’s satiety. They then manually adjust the amount of feed released into the cage based on what they see. This requires constant concentration, as farmers combine their interpretation of visual data with a plethora of environmental data streams gauging oxygen levels and current rates, feed intensities, historic fish growth and many more factors.
At the moment, there is no way of monitoring and evaluating feeding strategies objectively. Feeding strategies are an ‘art’: a reflection of the farmers’ spontaneous decision on how much food to put in a cage based on what they saw over the day. There are no unbiased measures of feed strategies to directly explain when a site produces good or bad FCR scores.
Observe Technologies aims to convert aquaculture processes from an art to a science by using Artificial Intelligence and data processing to identify measurable patterns in feeding activities and strategies to present to farmers. The system is built to be adaptable and empowering for farmers by seamlessly tapping into the existing sensors, feed systems and cameras on site. Data is collected through a multitude of AI algorithms to optimize farm performance; from the cost efficient use of feed to maintaining fish welfare.
Past innovations have focused on hardware and data collection; however the problem is typically not a lack of data, but the rigour and overwhelming pressure on farmers to consistently interpret that data and apply correlations with fish activity, feeding patterns, sensory data, food particles and other historical information in real time. The use of AI in aquaculture farms offers constant analytical and objective evidence of how fish growth responds to farmer input under different conditions, allowing meaningful data exploration of different feeding strategies.
Written by: Aquaculture Magazine Staff