Umitron launches real-time ocean-based fish appetite detection system
Pte. Ltd., a Singapore and Japan-based deep-tech company, has launched Fish Appetite Index (FAI), the world's first real-time ocean-based fish appetite detection system. Umitron FAI uses efficient machine learning and image analysis techniques to extract relevant data from video streams that can then be used to accurately quantify fish appetite. FAI software has already been rolled out to existing customers to optimize their feeding operations.
Over the past 20 years the aquaculture industry has been expanding at an exponential rate with annual production tripling during this brief time span. At the same time, however, aquaculture feed prices have also risen dramatically. This presents an ever-growing challenge for farmers since feed costs account for the majority of their operational overhead. Farmers must walk a tight line: underfeeding their fish risks lower growth rates and slower time to market, while overfeeding increases costs and potentially harms the environment. New data analytics technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things) devices and machine learning offer farmers a solution to improve their feeding operations.
The FAI algorithm takes in the same visual information that humans would and then scores fish appetite and presents it in an easy-to-understand chart. When used in tandem with a smart feeder such as Umitron Cell, the feed time intervals and amounts can be automatically adjusted with minimal human interference. Farm operators can utilise FAI to fine-tune their feeding schedules, ensuring fish are always satiated. This is easily done via their smartphones with the Umitron app, where they can check and remotely adjust feed settings based on the FAI feedback.
FAI benefits farmers by reducing wasted feed, improving profitability as well as environmental sustainability. FAI, in combination with technology such as Cell, allows farmers to stay onshore during dangerous weather conditions or holidays while still keeping a close eye on their fish stocks. Furthermore, it reduces the need for every employee to be an expert at feeding and instead frees workers to focus on other tasks that improve fish welfare.
Existing Umitron customers have already begun using FAI alongside Cell. "Today, there are many companies developing machine-learning algorithms for a variety of industries but only testing them under ideal conditions. The Umitron Fish Appetite Index, on the other hand, is already being embraced by our existing customers at their ocean-based farm sites where it operates under real world conditions. It might be difficult for some of our potential customers to completely trust artificial intelligence at first, but FAI is an important tool that can be used to increase productivity and reduce waste", said Masahiko Yamada, managing director of Umitron. 
Umitron is looking for partners interested in using FAI for species such as Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, European sea bass and gilthead sea bream. It is also looking for feeding-system manufacturing partners who wish to utilise data analysis software such as FAI to improve their current products.
Umitron participated in AquaNor, held in Trondheim, Norway last Aug. 20-23, and the Japan International Seafood & Technology Expo on Aug. 21-23 in Tokyo, Japan.


Cargill inks deal to market White Dog Labs' ProTyton™ for aquaculture customers
Commodities trader Cargill is expanding its offerings of sustainable alternatives to fishmeal in aqua feed, thanks to a new agreement with White Dog Labs, a biotech company focused on animal health and nutrition. The deal secures access to ProTyton™, White Dog Labs' single-cell protein produced by fermentation with corn feedstock--a sustainable alternative to harvesting fishmeal--which, like fishmeal, is high in protein and amino acids. ProTyton™ will be ready to ship from White Dog Labs' demo facility in Sutherland, Nebraska, USA, in 2020.
"This agreement underlines our commitment to sustainable aquaculture and discovering new and strategic ingredients that will help feed the world in a safe and responsible way," said Adriano Marcon, president of Cargill's aqua nutrition business.
"ProTyton™ offers a good source of protein for fish and shrimp, an affordable feed ingredient for farmers and a sustainable option for the planet that lessens our reliance on fishmeal—which we know to be a finite resource."
Cargill plans to begin offering ProTyton™ in salmon feed, with the possibility of expanding to shrimp and other species as White Dog Labs' production volume increases. In trials, salmon fed a diet containing ProTyton™ achieved a growth performance comparable to salmon on a conventional diet.
"We're honored to partner with Cargill to lead the industry in the application of highly scalable, alternative proteins for aquaculture," said Bryan Tracy, chief executive officer, White Dog Labs.
Made up of 80% protein, ProTyton™ offers higher protein content than typical fishmeal. And like fishmeal, ProTyton™ offers an attractive amino acid profile with 40% essential amino acids—those the animal cannot produce that must be supplied by the diet. Plus, ProTyton™ is economical because it has a valuable co-product, MiruTyton™, which shares its production costs.
White Dog Labs' MiruTyton™ is a liquid feed additive that is rich in butyrate, which promotes healthy digestion and boosts energy. Trials have indicated that MiruTyton™ in livestock diets supports higher growth rates and a better feed conversion ratio than when fed a normal diet. Production of MiruTyton™ and ProTyton™ is easily scalable, as it is a simple, ethanol-like fermentation process.
Cargill's partnership with White Dog Labs follows its June 24 announcement of a strategic partnership with InnovaFeed to scale up and jointly market fish feed made with insect protein. It marks another step in the company's journey to find new, sustainable ways to feed the growing planet.

BioMar is gold sponsor of Aquaculture Europe 2019 in October

Danish aqua feed manufacturer BioMar will again be the Gold Sponsor of Aquaculture Europe 2019 and looks forward to the event, seeking to be the first to utilise innovation that advances the efficiency and sustainability of aquaculture.
This year, the theme of Aquaculture Europe is "Our future–growing from water". The aquaculture sector nourishes and stimulates life in water in all its ways, and thereby holds the potential to overcome many of the challenges our society faces. The future of healthy and sustainably produced food and commodities lies in the diversity of aquaculture.
Aquaculture Europe 2019 will be held at Estrel Congress Centre in Berlin, Germany, on October 7-10, 2019.
BioMar prides itself as an innovator, focusing on high-performance diets for more than 45 different fish and shrimp species in more than 80 countries.

Aller Aqua and TripleNine enter into research cooperation with TripleNine
Danish fish feed maker Aller Aqua and marine ingredients producer TripleNine have entered into a research collaboration to identify components of marine raw materials with particular function to benefit fish health and growth.
Feeding trials on selected fish species will be conducted at Aller Aqua Research.
Both companies particiaed in the first SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Accelerator programme initiated by the UN Ssainable Develomen Programme, which is now running for the second time and still focusses on developing new business solutions based on the UN SDGs. Within the programme TripleNine took initiative to be active in terms of developing alternative marine raw materials in the aquaculture supply chain and thus positively influence the sustainability agenda.
"Marine raw materials form the basis of many high-quality fish feeds. In this collaboration with marine raw material expert TripleNine, we are aiming to make maximum use of marine raw materials and their functional components for optimising feed performance. Value addition to marine ingredients will also promote the continuous sustainable use of marine resources in fish feed, by making the most out of them", explained R&D Director Hanno Slawski of Aller Aqua.
Chief Commercial Officer Kenneth Storbank ofTripleNine stated: "TripleNine fishmeal and fish oil is of highest quality and essential valuable ingredients for the aquafeed producers. We are confident, that newly developed products will help to further improve the performance of aquaculture by increasing fish health and growth".
Aller Aqua Research continuously test raw materials for efficiency and performance, and the close collaboration with TripleNine will allow the company to evaluate new raw materials before they are released into the market.
For TripleNine the possibility of having new products tested commercially with professional partners will provide thorough documentation of the effect.

Trout fry at Aller Aqua  (ALLER AQUA PHOTO)

Veramaris supports British retailer Tesco's upgraded salmon feed standard

British retailer Tesco PLC's move to upgrade its salmon standards with the intent to reduce the amount of wild-caught fish fed to salmon in aquaculture has found a strong support from Dutch aquaculture firm Veramaris.
Through its new salmon standard, Tesco is encouraging salmon suppliers to incorporate the use of more sustainable aquafeed ingredients such as algal oil rich in omega-3 EPA and DHA.
As the world's third largest retailer, with over 3400 stores worldwide, Tesco's decisions have often helped to influence consumers and other retailers. The introduction of higher salmon standards is in line with the company's ongoing commitment to implementing impactful sustainability measures that help to make healthy sustainable products accessible and affordable to consumers.
The UK retailer's offer of algal oil-fed salmon to customers follows other early adopters in Germany and France.
"Value chain collaboration and a forward-thinking mindset are key to implementing sustainable breakthrough technologies, such as omega-3 EPA & DHA rich algal oil", said Karim Kurmaly, CEO of Veramaris, adding that Tesco sets an example as a prime agent of change, helping to provide consumers with healthy and sustainable choices.
"We are proud that algal oil rich in both omega 3 EPA & DHA in salmon feed contributes to a sustainable salmon that also supports both brain and heart health of the entire family", Kurmaly, said.
He said Veramaris, with its waste-free algal EPA+DHA omega-3 production facility in Blair, Nebraska, in the US, is ready to support the seafood industry's increasing efforts for improved sustainability and healthy nutrition with its natural marine algae oil rich in the essential omega-3 EPA and DHA fatty acids.
Omega-3 EPA & DHA has been found to provide a lifetime of health benefits that support brain cognition and development, eye health, heart health, joint health, and reduce the impact of serious health conditions including cancer and arthritis.

BioMar Group reports 4% hike in sales in 1st half
Denmark's BioMar Group has reported a 4% increase in sales volume during the first six months compared with the same period last year, driven by strong performance in the salmon markets in the UK and Chile, as well as within the business units producing feed for other species across the world.
"Feed is moving away from being a commodity product towards being a significant driver of welfare in the farms as well as a part of the value proposition towards the end-consumers. Many of our customers are determined to ensure that we together deliver healthy and sustainable seafood. The agenda of food is changing and our opportunities for taking responsibility expands along with rapid development within the end-consumer segments", said Carlos Diaz, CEO in the BioMar Group.
During the second half of last year, the business unit in Norway implemented a new operating model and a new setup toward customers, enabling higher efficiency and facilitating agile collaboration. At the same time, new products were brought to the market, creating new opportunities for combining high-performing feed solutions with advanced functional feed. However, the lower sales volumes in 2018 still impact the overall results of the group, BioMar said.
"We experience that our initiatives have been well received and we feel that we are regaining our good foothold in the market. The new management team has brought very strong technical profiles to the forefront of our business, enabling next generation of product innovation together with the customers and a reinforced closeness to the market. I am confident, that we will continue to see improved results within a very short timeline", Diaz said.
Also in the second half of 2018, BioMar acquired full ownership of a joint-venture factory in Chile opening for new possibilities in terms of agility and increased volumes. At the same time, significant capacity was added in Ecuador supporting the positive development of the shrimp business.
"We are confident that we are on the right track. Based on the positive development, we increase our guidance of full-year 2019 revenue from DKK10.3 billion (US$1.53 billion) to about DKK10.8 billion ($1.6 billion) and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) from previous DKK820-890 million to DKK870-930", Diaz said.


Salmon producer SalMar attain higher EBIT in Q2
Attributing it largely to effective operations, lower production costs and a higher volume of fish harvested in Central Norway, Norwegian salmon  farmer SalMar reported a higher operational EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) of NOK989.8 million (US$109.9 million) in the second quarter, compared with NOK878.6 million in the same period last year.
"It is very good to see that Central Norway continues the positive trend and shows that good biological performance gives good financial results", said SalMar's CEO Olav-Andreas Ervik.
Fish Farming Central Norway increased its volume harvested in the second quarter compared with the same period last year. The majority of the fish harvested were transferred to sea farms in the spring of 2018, a generation that has performed well biologically. This resulted in increased earnings compared with both the previous quarter and the second quarter in 2018.
However, biological challenges were encountered in Northern Norway, where the fish was harvested earlier than planned to minimise the biological risk.
Meanwhile, gross operating revenues totalled NOK3.3 billion (US$366.3 million) in the second quarter, up from NOK2.9 billion in the same period last year. The Group harvested 41,400 tonnes during the quarter, compared with 34,000 tonnes in 2018.
For 2019, SalMar expects to harvest 145,000 tonnes of salmon in Norway, 10,000 tonnes in Iceland (Arnarlax) and 30,000 tonnes in Norskott Havbruk (Scottish Seafarms).

Alaska seafood gets fresh boost with 2 new appointments at ASMI
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), Alaska's official seafood marketing arm. has named two new directors: Megan Rider, as the new domestic marketing director, and Ashley Heimbigner, as the new communications director.
"It's with great pleasure to have Megan and Ashley step into their new roles," said ASMI Executive Director Jeremy Woodrow.
Megan Rider joined ASMI in 2013, working with the international programme, and most recently served as the domestic marketing manager. Prior to joining ASMI, she worked in the Office of the Governor, as well as for a lobbying firm.
The domestic marketing programme is responsible for executing strategic Alaska seafood promotions with foodservice and retail partners across the United States. Rider was named interim domestic marketing programme director in November 2018.
"It is a great honor and privilege to continue to work on behalf of the Alaska seafood industry," Rider said.
Ashley Heimbigner joined ASMI in January 2018 as international marketing specialist. Prior to joining ASMI, she worked as tourism and sales manager at Visit Anchorage and as communications manager at Alaskan Brewing Co. in Juneau.
As communications director, Heimbigner will oversee the brand and messaging priorities of the whole organisation, act as a spokesperson to press and trade media, and manage ASMI's domestic consumer public relations in-state and fleet communications. Heimbigner replaces Jeremy Woodrow, who was named executive director last June.
"Working with the ASMI international programme provided an incredible understanding of our efforts to promote the quality and value of the Alaska Seafood brand in our global markets", said Heimbigner. "I am pleased to have the opportunity to further support these efforts as communications director."
ASMI is a public-private partnership between the State of Alaska and the Alaska seafood industry established to foster economic development of a renewable natural resource. ASMI plays a key role in the positioning Alaska's seafood industry as a competitive market-driven food production industry and premium global brand.

Megan Rider / ASMI                                                                   Ashley Heimbigner / ASMI