The future is digital for aquaculture

Ilustración: Susón Aguilera

Last December WUR presented its model to implement a policy based on FAIR data. Some of the most interesting concepts, which I cite below, can be perfectly applied to the aquaculture field.

“The future is digital for food systems, farming systems, health and the environment. These areas are increasingly driven by data and high tech innovations using new technologies, sensors, robotics and artificial intelligence.”

New aqua technologies plays a crucial role in enabling this digital transformation. In the coming years, crucial goals will be developing Artificial Intelligence and big data analytic algorithms for aquaculture, designing innovative fair field data infrastructures that operate across scientific disciplines. Such achievements drive technical developments for different aspects related with aquaculture, like individually tailored feed adapted, personalised fish health; improve genetics, new food products, and the efficient monitoring for the anticipation of the effect of climate and environmental changes.

To cover all the parties involved in the aquaculture value chain and generate innovative proposals, open innovation models emerge as a powerful and necessary tool that allows achieving a complete and immediate integration of the different agents that generate disruptive knowledge. At the same time, it contributes to the agile incorporation on the productive sector, since many of the proposed solutions are born precisely from the needs of the industry. Around the world, and of course in Europe, they are starting to incorporate very active models, which identify a new generation of start-ups, related to the agri-food sector and specifically aquaculture, which seek to cover the "Technology Transfer Gap", that exists between academia and industry.

Such as the case of Alimentos Venture, platform to accelerate start-ups to develop innovation in aquaculture feed and technology. Aqua-Spark is a global investment fund that makes investments in sustainable aquaculture businesses. Lab Tech4Climate select projects that want to go beyond economic profitability, seeking to have a positive impact on our society through the improvement of the environment, favoring sustainability, quality of life and healthy environments.

Aquanetix, AquaManager, Aquatracker, SmartWaterPlanet… they are platforms that offer integrated solutions for aquaculture management, integrating smart IT and fish farming innovations. In fact, SmartWaterPlanet is the platform on which the European MedAID project is working to go one step further and allow aquaculture companies to compare their results on line.

In addition, examples of start-ups that are offering their solutions to the aquaculture industry, like Cageeye for monitoring of fish behaviour and optimization of food cycles. Calysta sustainable and innovative feed for fish and livestock. Smalle Technologies that offers products to measure a series of parameters in real time and with a high frequency. Libelium actually one of the emergent examples of developing IoT solution for monitoring the water quality and life conditions for salmon. Bluephage commercialises kits for the analysis of viral indicators that allow increasing the health security of the product, both water and food or the industrial process that is controlled. Entomo transformation of by-products and waste of the agro-food industry using insects. In addition, one of the most interesting and disturbing Finless Food produce seafood without having to farm or harvest live fish.

Moreover, many others that we have in a digitization database for the agri-food sector, many of them incredible ... until recently.

Sometimes, this gap, coming from the university itself or research centres, and in other occasions because of the emergence of small innovative companies outside the academic world. The above examples are high-tech start-up, which come from different sectors, sometimes from very different industrial activities, offering solutions applicable to the challenges identified in the sector as essential needs for the improvement of competitiveness.

What I said earlier " The future is digital for food systems & aquaculture”.



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