Edinburgh Startup Uses IoT Devices to Improve Fish Farming Sustainability

An Edinburgh-based startup looks to improve aquaculture with a modular farming solution. 

Aquanzo, in collaboration with CENSIS, Scotland’s premier innovation centre for sensing, imaging, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, is pioneering the cultivation of artemia, a species of brine shrimp hailed as an optimal protein source for feeding fish and crustaceans.

Aquanzo’s modular recirculating aquaculture system (RAS), developed in partnership with Heriot-Watt University, allows artemia to be grown wherever they are required using the co-product of agricultural processes, such as malt production for the whisky industry. 

By repurposing the mineral-rich water used in malt processing, Aquanzo can cultivate artemia without impacting marine ecosystems.

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CENSIS engineers will help Aquanzo with the development of an IoT-enabled array of sensors and a ‘data lake’ (a centralised repository for data) to help the team collect, store, and process data.

This will help the company move towards the development of a fully mobile recirculating system, able to be located wherever agricultural by-products are available.

“The Aquanzo system could help solve one of the biggest challenges aquaculture faces – applying cutting-edge technology to a longstanding problem,” said Corinne Critchlow-Watton, project manager at CENSIS.

“The system will use an array of sensors to provide data on the environmental conditions within it and how the artemia are growing, such as water temperature and pH levels This project demonstrates how IoT and sensing technology can be used in a range of sectors to help solve what might have otherwise been considered a biological issue.”

Artemia, typically found in warm, saline environments, have been constrained by specific natural conditions, leading to limited global supply. Factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and conflicts like the war in Ukraine have further strained supply chains, exacerbating the scarcity of this vital ingredient.

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“Farming, rather than harvesting, important components of feed like artemia is a better way of ensuring greater control and scale, and is similar to what is already being done with insect farms, only with marine ingredients,” said Rémi Gratacap, co-founder and CEO of Aquanzo.

The innovative RAS system is poised to reduce CO2 emissions associated with fishmeal production by 20% compared to traditional harvesting methods. Furthermore, the system promotes sustainability by recycling water used in the process.

This ambitious project has garnered support from Innovate UK, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and Boortmalt, a leading malting company.


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