Aquaculture

Farming in water, aquaculture focusses on the reproduction, growth and harvesting of fish, together with shellfish and aquatic plants.

Agri-EPI explores and delivers precision farming engineering, technology and innovation in the UK agriculture across soil, crops and livestock.

Transformation of Scottish salmon production

Transformational innovation in aquaculture

Although significant progress has been made in recent years, current salmon production systems still encounter various challenges associated with “open water” production related to water quality, environmental pollution, and escapes. Additionally, threats of diseases, algae, sea lice, jellyfish and other predators persist as a result of unsecure perimeters.

Aqua Innovations, an SME based in Inverness, have secured funding via the UK Seafood Innovation Fund to undertake the detailed design stage of their flagship innovation concept ‘SeaCAP 6000’. Within the next couple of weeks, with the support of partners Agri-EPI, QED Naval, and Sterner Aquatech and an expert industry-led steering group, the innovative group will explore the feasibility of a transformational way of producing Salmon off the Scottish Coast.

The SeaCAP 6000, a new floating contained farm to grow salmon smolts to full harvest weight, will provide the optimum environment for the fish, with control of water quality, exclusion of external biological factors which can impact on fish health and will capture faeces and waste feed. The innovation is aligned with national agendas to supporting sustainable growth of the sector to double production and economic contribution by 2030.

Benefits over current salmon production systems

The main benefits of the closed contained marine farm are:

  • Control of water quality/internal environment
  • Exclusion of water-borne diseases, and algae, sea lice, jellyfish, and predators
  • Prevention of escapes
  • Capture of the waste for removal and treatment, preventing environmental pollution, and potentially recycling or re-use
  • H&S benefits and operational efficiencies within a controlled working environment
  • Durable, low maintenance, emptied and cleaned between crops
  • Unique mooring system which required only 5% of the seabed lease area to grow an equivalent biomass

 

Transformational innovation in aquaculture

Inventor of the SeaCAP Rodger Taylor is delighted that the potential of this technology has been recognised, after the concept has been in development for a number of years:

“Now that we have both the funding and the support of strong partners, we can take it a step closer to realisation”.

For Scotland-based Agri-EPI, this is an exciting opportunity to get involved with transformational innovation in aquaculture which aims to have an impact close to home.
Kasi McReddie, Business Development Manager for Aquaculture & Livestock says:

“We’re thrilled to be supporting Aqua Innovation on their journey to develop the SeaCAP 6000. Salmon producers face major challenges which may be overcome using technology to contain production – essentially eliminating outside threats and giving the farmer more control over their site. This collaborative approach to innovation is at the heart of Agri-EPI’s vision to support productive, sustainable and profitable food production.”

 

Design of technology prototype

In partnership with Sterner AquaTech and QED Naval, Aqua Innovation will be working on the detailed design of the prototype 6,000m3 closed contained farm to grow smolts from 100g to 1kg for on-growing in traditional sea cages. Agri-EPI will support the project by organising an industry-led expert steering group to ensure the innovation is developed in-line with the needs and challenges of those in the supply chain. Further support comes in the form of business development and knowledge exchange.

About the UK Seafood Innovation Fund

The UK Seafood Innovation Fund supports bold and ambitious tech-driven projects that will enable a step-change in the productivity and sustainability of the UK seafood sector. Administered by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the UK Seafood Innovation Fund supports projects with a long-term vision to improve the UK seafood, fishing and aquaculture Industries. For more information about the Seafood Innovation Fund, please visit their twitter page.

Follow project progress

Be sure to follow Agri-EPI on Twitter and LinkedIn to keep abreast of the progress with this exciting project. To learn more and find out how you can get involved, please reach out to Kasi McReddie, Agri-EPI’s Business Development Manager Livestock & Aquaculture at kasi.mcreddie@agri-epicentre.com or learn about our industry impact around the globe.

New project explores innovative approach to salmon production

An innovative aquaculture project has been launched to prove the engineering for a new way of producing salmon off the Scottish coast that improves fish welfare and is more environmentally friendly.

Aqua InnovationInverness-based SME Aqua Innovation, with the support of several partners and an industry-led steering group, has secured funding via the UK Seafood Innovation Fund to undertake the detailed design stage of the ‘SeaCAP 6000’ – a new floating, contained 6,000m3 pen to grow salmon smolts to full harvest weight.

The SeaCAP 6000 aims to provide the optimum environment for the fish through controlled water quality and exclusion of external biological factors which can impact on fish health. Faeces and waste feed can be captured and disposed of safely.

Transforming UK Seafood industry

The innovation is aligned with national agendas to support sustainable growth of the sector to double production and economic contribution by 2030.

Rodger Taylor, the inventor of the SeaCAP said:

“Although significant progress has been made in recent years, current salmon farming still encounters various challenges associated with ‘open water’ production, related to water quality, environmental pollution, and fish escapes. The unsecured perimeters of current production systems also make the salmon vulnerable to disease, algae, sea lice, jellyfish and predators.

We believe the SeaCAP has the potential to transform both Scottish and global salmon production. It has been in development for a number of years and we’re delighted that its potential has been recognised.”

 

Aquaculture project funders

The funders of the SeaCAP 6000 Salmon Aquaculture project are Cefas, DEFRA and UK Seafood Innovation Fund

The project is funded by the UK Seafood Innovation Fund, which supports bold and ambitious tech-driven projects that will enable a step-change in the productivity and sustainability of the UK seafood sector. Administered by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the UK Seafood Innovation Fund supports projects with a long-term vision to improve the UK seafood, fishing and aquaculture industries.

Seafood innovation partners

SeaCAP 6000 Salmon Aquaculture Innovation partners | Agri-EPI, Aqua Innovation, Sterner AquaTech, Lloyds Register and QED Naval

 

Agri-EPI is supporting the project by organising an industry-led expert steering group to ensure the innovation is developed in-line with supply chain needs and challenges. Business Development Manager for Aquaculture & Livestock, Kasi McReddie, said:

“New technology can offer salmon producers solutions to major challenges by essentially eliminating outside threats and giving the farmer more control over their sites. This collaborative approach to innovation is at the heart of Agri-EPI’s vision to support productive, sustainable and profitable food production.”

QED Naval, responsible for the Naval Architecture and Hydrodynamics, said:

“We have had a long-standing relationship with Aqua Innovation and its associated company, Concrete Marine Solutions (CMS), we have a similar innovative approach to the manufacturing of large marine structures, which is the case of CMS is based on 40+ years of experience and ingenuity. We are delighted to be involved in the development of this innovative SeaCAP concept and help bring this revolutionary idea to the market where it can have a dramatic impact on fish wealth fare in an environmentally sensitive, and commercially viable way.”

Sterner AquaTech, who are designing the Water Quality and Life Support systems, said:

“Sterner are delighted to be continuing our involvement with this project having been working since 2019 on concept designs with Aqua Innovations. Our ethos has always been to seek to innovate and improve on our equipment and methods in the industry, and to be involved in a project such as this is a natural progression. Environmental pressures are only going to increase in our industry, and SeaCAP is a unique answer to many of those concerns and could be the model for sustainable farming in the near future.”

Another partner, Lloyds Register, will be undertaking validation of the design in a subsequent stage of the project.

A3 Scotland 2022: Save the date

As sponsor and event partner, Agri-EPI announces the inaugural A3 Scotland for this year to be postponed to 26-27 April in 2022.

Transition to Net Zero

The conference, themed ‘Transition to Net Zero, focuses on encouraging innovation, investment and collaboration in animal health and sustainable food production and brings together industry, investors and policymakers from around the world to discuss strategic partnerships and discover the latest R&D. 

Initially the event was scheduled to take place on 21 and 22 April this year. However, with the ongoing uncertainty around international travelling, face-to-face networking and site tours, the organising committee has made the decision to postpone the event to a safer and more opportune time. The conference will be held next year on 26-27 April 2022. 

The rescheduled event will offer the same exciting programme based around the theme of ‘Transition to Net Zero’, with an exciting and engaging line-up of committed thought leaders from across industry, science and policy. If you are interested in being involved as a speaker, sponsor or delegate, do not hesitate to get in touch and be sure to follow on social media for the latest updates.

A3 | Animal health, agri-tech and aquaculture

‘A3’ refers to animal health, agri-tech and aquaculture and no coincidence for this event to be held in Scotland. With the largest cluster of animal bioscience/aquaculture researchers in Europe, Scotland is already a global player in the ‘A3’ sector. The Roslin area in particular, are internationally recognised as having strengths in A3, both in the research and commercial environments. 

The conference programme offers two core days 26-27 April of expert speakers from across the sectors, panel discussions and networking opportunities. Wrapped around this are optional pre-and post-conference tours showcasing some of Scotland’s world class A3 facilities and expertise. The A3 conference is taking place on the doorstep of our Northern Agri-Tech Innovation Hub in Edinburgh.

A3 Event partners

A3 Sponsors

The not-for-profit event is being organised by the Roslin Innovation Centre, in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, the University’s Roslin InstituteMidlothian Science Zone, the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise. Agri-EPI and its fellow UK agri-tech innovation centre CIEL are amongst the event’s sponsors and are providing input to the programme.

Other partners involved are: Visit Scotland, Highlands and islands Enterprise (HIE), Data Driven Innovation (DDI), Global Academy of Agriculture and food security (University of Edinburgh); Scottish Africa Business Association (SABA), European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) food, Moredun Research Institute, SRUC, SEFARI and most recent signed up partner Zoetis.

Agri-EPI is proud partner and encourages her industry, academic and governmental network to keep an eye out on event promotion closer to date and be sure not to miss this first ever A3 event!

Interested?

For more information and to register for A3 Scotland 2022, the inaugural conference for the Animal Health, Agritech and Aquaculture (AAA) sectors, please visit: bit.ly/A3Scotland2022.

Stay informed

Keep up to date with the latest impact and results of our work, plus, news, innovation and approaches across the sector. Read our latest news and Agri-EPI blogs.

EIT Food welcomes Agri-EPI to their community

Agri-EPI has joined the EIT Food network and aligns with EIT Food’s sustainable agriculture and aquaculture focus areas to guide and accelerate innovations in food production and farming practices.

EIT Food aims to drive the digital transformation of our food systems, as innovations in data and technology are needed to futureproof the sector against global challenges. This includes the creation and adoption of revolutionary agricultural technologies to help farmers improve the efficiency, profitability and sustainability of their businesses, to address challenges such as the impact of a rising global population and climate change on yield demand and output.

Both EIT Food and Agri-EPI Centre visions are closely aligned – collaboration with a wide range of partners leads to exciting innovation. EIT Food’s strength comes from its partners, which represent many of Europe’s leading agrifood companies, research institutes, universities and startups. A diverse community that spans the entire agrifood chain, enables key players with different skills and capabilities to collaborate with one another to solve some of most pressing food system challenges. EIT Food is delighted to welcome Agri-EPI centre to its fast-growing community, to help them to grow, enhance and contribute to relationships and collaboration which help to drive innovation in their shared interest of sustainable food systems.

Dave Ross, Chief Executive of Agri-EPI Centre said:

“Agri-EPI truly recognises the value of collaboration in driving innovation and we know that our membership of EIT Food will allow us to grow our existing networks and contribute our know-how to leading innovation initiatives.”

In particular, Agri-EPI Centre is excited to contribute to all aspects of the research, development, evaluation and dissemination of information about new technologies and techniques which support efficient, sustainable and profitable farming and food productions. Agri-EPI Centre looks forward to building relationships and contributing expertise in support of sustainable food production.

Dr Jayne Brookman, Acting Director of EIT Food’s North-West Co-Location centre said:

“EIT Food is delighted to welcome Agri-EPI to Europe’s leading agrifood innovation network. Our shared commitment to collaboration in the digital transformation of agriculture will strengthen innovation in agri-tech, to drive towards more sustainable food systems.”

Positive impact of Aquapulse Water Technology on grown produce

For many farmers and growers, the use of chemical inputs is the largest contribution to their carbon footprint. Aquapulse water technology enables reduced inputs, results in better quality produce naturally, and improves water efficiency. It allows growers to achieve enhanced white root development, more consistent batch colour, and better quality produce whilst using reduced inputs, and less water.

Dr. Hugh Martin, formerly Head of Agricultural Science at the Royal Agricultural University, wrote an independent academic paper on Aquapulse water technology. This article brings forward the highlights of that study.

AquapulseWhat is Aquapulse?

Aquapulse technology provides naturally clean water lines, promoting healthy bird development, less maintenance & reduced or eliminated chemical use

  • Aquapulse is a totally natural technology utilising Feldspar minerals contained in a food grade stainless steel cartridge
  • The cartridge can be simply immersed to treat water
  • Plants irrigated with Aquapulse treated water show positive physiological growth changes to roots and fruiting

Main benefits for growers

Using Aquapulse can deliver:

  • Enhanced crop yield
  • Improved quality of produce
  • More consistent batch colour
  • Crisper fruit & vegetables
  • Reduced chemical input
  • Reduced water consumption
  • Extended post picking shelf

Initial water technology trials

Design of full trials NIAB were commissioned to design and perform scientifically robust and statistically verifiable trials on three crops: dwarf beans, maize and capsicum. The trials were overseen and reported by Dr. Hugh Martin, formerly Head of Agricultural Science at the Royal Agricultural University.

Positive impact plant species

Aquapulse has a physiological and morphological impact on specific plant species (more marked in capsicum and maize, less evident in dwarf beans):

  1. Increased fruit yield in capsicum
  2. Increased root mass in capsicum and maize
  3. Change in the root:shoot balance, with a greater proportion of growth in roots
  4. There is evidence of advancement in the rate of development of flowering and fruiting.

Water technology treatment follow-up

Additional scientific evaluation is required to further understand the exact mechanism of Aquapulse treated water on plants. This will focus on physiological and morphological impacts on plants and the mechanisms at play. The work will focus on the following objectives:

  1. Identify specific species that Aquapulse has the greatest impact on
  2. Identify economic benefits in high-value crops
  3. Identify opportunities to reduce agricultural inputs (water, crop protection agents, fertilizers)
  4. Optimise the application of Aquapulse in a farming environment

How can Agri-EPI help?

For more information about the Aquapulse Water Technology, this research or other water and sustainability solutions, please contact our support team via team@agri-epicentre.com.

A3 Scotland 2020 rescheduled due to COVID-19

A3 Scotland is postponed to 2021

As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Organising Committee for A3 Scotland 2020 has made the difficult decision to postpone its inaugural event, which was due to take place from 30 September to 1 October 2020. Given the ongoing uncertainty, the Committee took the view that it would be impossible to go ahead with international gathering, built around face-to-face networking and site tours.

We are hugely disappointed to have to postpone the inaugural A3 conference but take comfort from the fact that the fantastic support shown by our sponsors and delegates will be maintained for the rescheduled conference. Depending on progress in easing lockdown restrictions, we now plan to hold the event on 21 and 22 April 2021.

It is with great regret that we have had to reschedule what promised to be a fantastic international gathering bringing together key organisations across animal health, agri-tech and aquaculture. We know there has been huge enthusiasm for the event but the health and safety of our speakers, sponsors and delegates is of our highest priority.

We are pleased to say that the rescheduled event will offer the same strong programme based around the theme of ‘Transition to Net Zero’, with an exciting and engaging line-up of committed thought leaders from across industry, science and policy. If you are interested in being involved as a speaker, sponsor or delegate, do not hesitate to get in touch and be sure to follow on social media for the latest updates.

In the meantime, the Committee will be working hard to ensure they maintain momentum in planning and promotion. We are confident that the delay to the event will not dent what promises to be a highlight of the 2021 conference calendar.

Future updates about A3 Scotland can be found online at www.roslininnovationcentre.com.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support. We look forward to seeing you in 2021!

The A3 Organising Committee
Lawrence Brown (Consultant and Veterinary Surgeon), Richard Mole (Moredun Research Institute), Neil Clelland (Scotland’s Rural College), Lyndsay Chapman (Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock), Andrea McColl (Highlands and Islands Enterprise), Yoni van Breukelen (Agri-EPI Centre), David Telford (Knowledge Transfer Network) and John Mackenzie (Roslin Innovation Centre).