Aquaculture North America

Intelligent feeding

August 14, 2019
By ANA staff

Umitron's new FAI system uses machine learning algorithms to analyze video data collected directly from farm sites to calculate fish appetite. (Photo credit: Umitron)

Aquaculture technology provider Umitron has launched Fish Appetite Index (FAI), the world’s first real-time, ocean-based fish appetite detection system. Umitron FAI uses machine learning and image analysis techniques to extract relevant data that can then be used to accurately quantify fish appetite. FAI software has already been rolled out to existing customers to optimize their feeding operations, the company said.

Aquaculture feed prices have risen dramatically due to a lack of key ingredients such as fish meal and fish oil, Umitron said in a statement. This presents an ever-growing challenge for farmers since feed costs account for a majority of their operational overhead.

“Farmers must walk a tight line – underfeeding their fish risks lower growth rates and slower time to market ­– while overfeeding increases costs and potentially harms the environment. In some cases, a farmer only has a limited amount of time to feed and observe each cage before needing to move onto the next one,” Umitron continued.

New technologies such as IoT devices and machine learning offer farmers a solution to improve their feeding operations with the use of efficient data analytics.


FAI takes the guesswork out of fish feeding. The FAI algorithm takes in the same visual information that humans would and then scores fish appetite and presents it in an easy to understand chart. When used in tandem with a smart feeder, the feed time intervals and amounts can be automatically adjusted with minimal human interference. Farm operators can utilize FAI to fine-tune their feeding schedules, ensuring fish are always satiated. This is easily done via their smartphones with the Umitron app, where they can check and remotely adjust feed settings based on the FAI feedback.

FAI benefits farmers by reducing wasted feed, improving profitability as well as environmental sustainability. The technology also improves farmers’ work life by eliminating the need to be out on the water during dangerous conditions. FAI, in combination with other smart technologies, allows farmers to stay onshore during weekends while still keeping a close eye on their fish stocks.

Existing Umitron customers have already begun using FAI alongside CELL, the company said.

“Today, there are many companies developing machine-learning algorithms for a variety of industries but only testing them under ideal conditions. The Umitron Fish Appetite Index on the other hand is already being embraced by our existing customers at their ocean-based farm sites where it operates under real world conditions,” said Masahiko Yamada, managing director of Umitron.

Umitron said it is looking for partners interested in using FAI for species such as Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, European sea bass, and gilthead sea bream. Similarly, the company is looking for feeding system manufacturing partners who wish to utilize software to improve their current products. Umitron data analysis software such as FAI can be used in tandem with feed barges to optimize existing operations, the company said.


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