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Fish First|4/26/2021

SalmoNIR is a means for cost effective solutions

Cargill has launched a new technology that will save time-consuming labour and money for Scottish and Norwegian fish farmers. SalmoNIR assesses the flesh quality attributes of salmon from 1kg and above. This data then stimulates important production-based discussions and decisions at a significantly earlier stage in the life cycle than traditional methods

SalmoNIR is a small, waterproof and very robust handheld scanner developed for sampling and the analysis of fat content, EPA + DHA and fillet colour of live salmon. The scanner gives immediate answers concerning fish condition in the net-pens and can as such provide a basis for decisions of great importance to fish health and economy.

Cargill has spent two years on further developing and testing the equipment while scanning thousands of fish to validate the results.

– The conclusion is that SalmoNIR’s analysis accuracy is on comparable with chemical analysis. We are very confident in those numbers, says Account and Feeding Technology Manager Joshua Liddell at Cargill Aqua Nutrition Scotland.

Instant information
A downside of chemical analysis is that you have to kill the fish to obtain the flesh samples required for analysis. It is also very costly and time consuming because you have to send the samples to an external lab and wait for two or three weeks to get the results back. With SalmoNIR you avoid this.

– The scanning takes a few seconds, and the data is available for the customer the instant the scanning is complete. At which point the fish can be released, alive, back into the water column. The probe has no external cables, and it is connected via Wi-Fi. Flesh quality data is transferred directly to the application, where the information can be analyzed and combined with other customer performance data. For the customer, having instant access to this information is extremely valuable, says Liddell.

Lowers the threshold
Famers assess the flesh quality of their fish at various stages within the life cycle, predominantly this takes place at 2.5kg, 3.5kg and 4.5kg. If the flesh quality results are lower than predicted, the nutritional composition of the salmon feed can be changed to ensure the fish achieve the pre-determined targets. 

Sampling fish for flesh quality analysis is time consuming, and costly to the farmer. In addition, the number of fish, weight of the fish and location of the pens in which the fish are sampled from is vital to ensure the results returned are of value. The staff on site must allocate between 1 – 4 hours to carry out this operation, and the waiting time for the results is long. If sampling takes place late in the life cycle, a 3 week wait for the results could be the difference between the farmer achieving their flesh quality targets and having satisfied customers or not. On the other hand, SalmoNIR provides instant, robust results, which allows rapid nutritional changes to be made to the salmon feed.  

-  In an ideal world, we would sample between 30 – 50 fish per population to gain the best overview of flesh quality. However, sampling this number of fish is not viable in a commercial setting, as the number of fish being sacrificed and the time in which it takes to process these individuals would be too great, not to mention the economic loss to the farmer, says Liddell. 

With SalmoNIR you can select and test 50 – 100 fish, within one to two hours, and then release them back into the population alive and well. Having ‘real’ data on so many fish within a given population, almost instantaneously, is hugely advantageous for our customers, allowing them to make informed, proactive choices for their business, says Liddell.

Rolls out the technology
The flesh quality results from SalmoNIR are stored in a cloud solution and correlate with other key data about fish from the same population. Consequently, it is simple to monitor the fish’s health, how it grows, its environment and its quality. Cargill has carried out extensive tests with a client who scanned 6–700 fish during a single day with very good results. This serves as a sound basis for decision making concerning the necessity to act to optimize feeding or take other measures.

– We have had discussions with some of our Scottish based customers and there is a lot of excitement surrounding SalmoNIR. We plan to launch SalmoNIR into the Scottish market early in 2021, initially with one customer, in which we will train and support them through their initial introduction to this new, exciting technology. 

Knowledge provider
Support and pricing of SalmoNIR is independent of whether the customer buys feed from Cargill or not.

– We’re not just a feed supplier, we invest heavily into innovation and are very proud to continuously bring groundbreaking information and technology to our customers. We are very confident with SalmoNIR and believe it will bring huge value to our customers and the aquaculture industry, says Liddell.

 

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