Tassal invests $20 million in state-of-the-art feeding center
Tassal’s has made a $20 million investment in a state-of-the-art remote feeding center. The technology delivers high definition video-feed to the center, while also measuring dissolved oxygen levels, water temperature, currents and salinity levels. “Feeding is not as simple as simply distributing pellets at set times during the day. Feeders monitor for environmental conditions and fish behavioral conditions which optimize the feeding environment promoting better feed conversion rates and less wasted feed.”
Tassal Chief Information Officer Matt Leary said the introduction of the innovative technology, involving specialists from the Tasmanian ICT sector, enabled Tassal to feed more efficiently, reduce waste, keep staff safe and produce overall better performance results.
“The technology has been secured in conjunction with local technology partners including Intuit Technologies and Steinsvick,” he said. “It involves connecting high definition cameras to all our active pens, as well as feeding barges through a combination of fibre optic and wireless networks, allowing centralized feeding to the sites remotely from our Hobart head office.”
Intuit Technology Founder and Executive Director Dane Bignell said there was no network infrastructure in the majority of areas it was working in, and the company had to work from the ground-up.
“A major advantage of this project has been the requirement to implement backbone ICT infrastructure in regional areas, which not only benefits Tassal but potentially other businesses and the broader community,” he said.
Tassal’s Head of Aquaculture Mark Asman said as well as allowing the company’s feed technicians opportunity to control camera depths and angles, there was capacity to have access to real-time environmental and fish performance data 24/7.
“Feeding is not as simple as simply distributing pellets at set times during the day,” he said. “Feeders monitor for environmental conditions and fish behavioral conditions which optimize the feeding environment promoting better feed conversion rates and less wasted feed.”
Mr. Asman said the feed center was performing above expectations, with an 11 per cent lower feed conversation ratio for 2017-year class stock being fed remotely from the center compared to the previous year.
“We are already experiencing the benefits of this system with growth yield improved and less feed on the seafloor, which is overall better for the environment and more efficient from a business perspective,” he said.
Tassal has also found the technology has given the team a greater capacity to monitor fish health and improve animal welfare.
“The high definition cameras have allowed us to assess how the stock is performing and monitoring their health,” Mr Asman said.
“Having the feeders located in Hobart, alongside our fish welfare and veterinarian staff, ensures collaboration and problem solving occurs immediately when unsual behaviour is observed – allowing a faster response to issues.”
While the technology delivers significant efficiencies, there have been no job losses as a result of its introduction with the company moving to larger, seal proof infrastructure and IT support roles seeing an expansion of jobs.
Click here to watch a video about the new feeding center