05 Dec Smart Farming, the next step for aquaculture productions
Although aquaculture is becoming more and more technified, it is still far from developing as other agro-food industries in the world are doing, where advances in technologies such as Big Data, robotics, Internet of Things (IoT) or Simulation, are increasingly frequent within the production process.
All these new Information and Communication Technologies and the Operational developments through last generation sensors are intended to serve as a lever to the applications based on Artificial Intelligence that are about to arrive.
Not an option, but a must
Smart farming will not be an option for the future; they will be a challenge for aquaculturists to implement. They will have no choice, but to adapt. Those who are able to ride the Fourth Revolution will have a better chance of success in an increasingly competitive and globalized world.
In the future, all fish and crustacean farms on land will be run by an application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), so called Smart Farming, where the aquaculture farmer will have accurate, real-time knowledge of what is happening to the working environment and its animals.
Right now decisions are still based on empiricism rather than accurate data. Through the incorporation of sensors for controlling the basic parameters of a fish farm such as dissolved oxygen, temperature and self-food demand.
Having real-time oxygen and temperature data, and knowing the fish behaviour through the self-demand food sensors, a farmer can get a clear idea of his crop needs and how it evolves.
Nowadays technology allows us to extend the number of parameters to control; however, it is necessary to understand that a farm must aim towards maximum profitability with the minimum cost. Therefore, it is interesting that a basic control of the culture can be done with the sensors.
With these sensors, it is possible to know precisely the hours of maximum feed demand, how much they eat and how long, and how variations in oxygen and temperature affect their behavior. These data conveniently stored and analysed can provide information that facilitates continuous production improvement.
The good news is we still have time to ride the wave. However, reaching a 4.0 Aquaculture will not be without challenges. The most important of all will be to take to the market products of higher quality, efficiency, performance and preventive maintenance.
Challenges for the future of aquaculture
The sector in this challenge must be able to attract new talents in ICT and improve the skills of those who are already working; make structural changes in organizations by re-assigning personnel to the new responsibilities generated; advance in cybersecurity; and provide farms with access to 4G, and in the future to 5G, because it should not be forgotten that the Internet is the means of connection for all operations.
In economic terms, the costs of implementing Artificial Intelligence will have to go down if we want companies to be able to access this revolution. According to data from Siemens Financial Services, 64 % of companies consider this a fundamental barrier to make the leap to digitalization.