A collection of European aquaculture studies has resulted in the development of a new automatic fish feeding system that is designed to significantly reduce the cost of fish farming. Currently, for many fish farmers, the cost of feeding is around 50% of their total budget. However, a new innovative automatic feeding system based on passive acoustics systems and Artificial Intelligence may contribute to more sustainable fish farming.

SICA is a non-invasive, passive acoustic system comprised of two modules: Data Logger and Control Unit. The SICA system operates autonomously, acquiring and processing the acoustic data. The technology is non-invasive and provides real-time monitoring.

In contrast to the traditional method of underwater video cameras, this system was found to detect unusual behavior of salmon more effectively during the feeding process by identifying low feed intake earlier. By improving the efficiency of the feeding process, salmon farmers can reduce environmental impacts and increase their production. The CTN has first tested the system in Mediterranean sea bass farms. This species is different from salmon, and the farming conditions themselves were much more challenging.

To verify that the concept works under different conditions, and in order to train the algorithms, they performed tests at the SINTEF ACE full-scale aquaculture facilities in Frøya, Norway.

Use of the SINTEF ACE test facilities was crucial. It needed access to good facilities to get the best results, and especially under such harsh conditions.

In particular, able to test the equipment under different weather conditions and with the proper feeding equipment. The results showed that the concept is working.”

The facility provided access to a fish farm, boats, sensors, and assistance to set up the units at different cages.

They also had fast wireless communication that helped them to test the system thoroughly. “This fast connection allowed to expand the collaboration between CTN in Spain and the system (SICA) in Norway during the experiment.