Offshore Industry News

Salmon Production Optimized by Using Data

One of the world’s largest fish farmers has improved and optimized their production of farmed salmon by using Danish company Blue Unit’s newly developed data technology. The newest version of Blue Unit’s data platform is better than ever.

Fish farming is a growing business with a rising demand for larger installations and greater focus on animal welfare. Norwegian SalMar Settefisk is one of the companies that, besides being one of the world’s largest producers of salmon and smolt, focuses on efficient and sustainable production of farmed fish. By collaborating with Blue Unit, a Danish company producing data and visualization technology, SalMar Settefisk can improve water quality control on their farms and create a stable and sustainable environment for the fish.

In Norway, SalMar Settefisk has three RAS-farms, where they produce salmon and smolt. The RAS-farms are located along the coastline from Møre and Romsdal in the southern part of Norway all the way up North of the Arctic Circle in Tromsø and Finnmark. They also have farms in the United Kingdom and Iceland.

The beginning of a collaboration

The collaboration between SalMar Settefisk department Senja and Blue Unit started in 2020. The Norwegian smolt producer contacted the Danish data and visualization technology company to help improve their production and avoid potential challenges on their facility in Senja near Tromsø. SalMar used version 2 of the data analysis tool, called Blue Unit Solution, which uses specially designed censors to collect data on 12 vital water quality parameters from up to 12 locations on a farm simultaneously. The monitor system also has an alarm that tells where and why a change in the water quality occurs. This provides optimal conditions for monitoring critical parameters and optimizing the farm on the basis of real-time information updates.

– To us smolt producers, accurate measurements in the tanks are vital to obtaining stable water quality and the best conditions for sustainability and growth. With Blue Unit Solution, our monitoring process changed from manually measuring a few times a day to retrieving automized measurements continuously throughout the day. This gives us new possibilities to monitor and adjust our production, says Stein Roar Ernstsen, director of biology and water chemistry of Salmar Settefisk’s Senja department.

The largest farm in the world

The facility in Senja, which has been under construction since 2017, is the largest facility of its kind in the world, and today it is licenced to produce an amount of 34 million smolt. As part of developing the facility, SalMar and Blue Unit agreed that the new smolt farm would also be a test unit for version 2 of Blue Unit’s data visualization system.

SalMar and Blue Unit have continuously adjusted and developed the system to get the best possible collections of data and analyses, and several parameters have received special attention.

– Blue Unit makes it, among other things, possible to monitor the level of CO2 pH, oxygen, salinity, clarity and H2S in our fish tanks in a way that was impossible before. These are important indicators of water quality, and with these new tools we expect to become even better at controlling our consumption of fish feed, reducing our expenses, ensuring animal welfare, and producing robust smolt.

The collaboration with SalMar has also made it possible for Blue Unit to make valuable experiences and collect data on-site from two different marine environments. This made Blue Unit able to continuously adjust and optimize the system.

– By following SalMar’s farms closely, we have been challenged with demands and expectations that made it necessary for us to perform optimally and evolve professionally – with regards to both version 1 and version 2. This knowledge can be used on farms worldwide in the future, says David Owen, Biologist and Founder of Blue Unit.

Facts: Blue Unit Solution

  • An all-in-one water quality surveillance system with subscription-based software that collects data and gives 24/7 insight into the farm’s status
  • Specially designed censors measure the following water quality parameters: pH, O2, opaqueness, conductivity, redox, rH (redox less pH), salt contents, temperature, totally dissolved matter, available CO2, total CO2, H2S, non-carbonate alkalinity (surrogate of ammoniac)
  • 2700 datapoints daily that are uploaded to the Cloud accessible via external units
  • Early warning system that shows where, when, and why changes in water quality occurs
  • Built-in alarm system triggered by critical levels
  • Compares benchmark values with similar farms in the industry.

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