Process Automation and Optimization

Operational challenges in aquaculture, and how to tackle them

The industry faces a number of operational challenges, mainly related to maintaining the quality of the product, controlling the cost and the composition of feed, and controlling the costs related to the production at sea. These issues can all be addressed with the help of process automation and optimization.

The fish value chain

Aquaculture involves a string of processes, some of which run in parallel. Fish farms need to run the process from feed to a saleable salmon product as efficiently as possible. The fish value chain runs from feed production to smoltification, sea farming, slaughtering and processing, distribution and sales.  By controlling the whole process, companies can draw benefit from each stage in the value chain. A process automation system can help keep all these stages together and trace products throughout.  The objective is to convert feed into saleable salmon product in the most efficient way possible.

Spawning and smoltification

• A process automation system can provide statistical production analysis tools to help ensure better feed conversion and survival
• Analysis of volume, type and timing of feed across locations can be compared to fish growth allowing the feeding regime to be optimized over time
• The impact of other factors such as water quality and temperature can also be reviewed and controlled more effectively to improve the growth and health of the fish

Transfer to/from sea pens

• Hybrid electric propulsion can be used for safer, more efficient transfer of smolt to cages at sea, as well as for delivering feed.

Growth (onshore or at sea)

• Process automation can minimize the time it takes for fish to reach maturity by matching factors over time to growth patterns.
• Fish yield can be maximized by keeping a close watch on environmental factors, parasites, escaping fish, predator activity etc.
• Feeding can be completely automated as can medication delivery.


• Large volumes of data can be stored and used to trace each fish through the process and document every place it has been held.
• Food safety is also enhanced given better scope to trace the product from beginning to end.

Processing and sales

With an enterprise resource planning system integrating what would have previously been silos of information, throughput time can be halved, reducing the total cost of ownership.
• Production can be adjusted to real-time demand and robotics used for flexible production.

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