Produced by Nekkar, Starfish is fully-automated and is digitally and remotely managed. At the heart of the system is a software platform for remote surveillance, data acquisition, bio analytics and production control. It has been designed to reduce environmental impact and operating expenditure. It has double protection against escapes, aims to avoid sea lice by taking in water from deep below the cage, and collects up to 90 percent of the biological waste produced by the salmon. “Nekkar aims to develop disruptive technologies that offer high sustainability impact solutions for the aquaculture industry. Starfish is the first example of this approach. We are excited about the forthcoming ocean testing and the future opportunities this may present,” says Preben Liltved, CEO of the marine engineering specialist. The company aims to offer further disruptive technologies and automated sensors to the aquaculture sector in the future.

Nekkar has cooperated with Lerøy Seafood from the beginning of the Starfish development work, and the project is supported by Innovation Norway. “The idea behind Starfish is to reduce opex level dramatically for the fish farming industry, while simultaneously improve fish welfare and focusing on circular economy. We look forward to verifying the technical and operational parameters of the solution, before we start preparations for testing with biomass later this year,” says Mette Harv, executive vice president of Nekkar’s aquaculture business area.

In both Norway and parts of Canada there is a political drive towards closed containment fish farming, as a potential solution to solve major environmental and sustainability challenges such as sea lice, escapes and high mortality rates. “Today there are around 4,000 open cages in Norway. Closed cages will open up additional locations. This illustrates the market potential for Starfish,” adds Harv.