Aquaculture management software is nothing new. There have been software packages on the market to enable fish farm managers to make decisions about production, feeding, and hatchery rearing based on data collected throughout the farming processes for years.
Greek software maker aquaManager has been building software solutions for fish farmers to manage and control their production from the hatchery to growout. The company says its customers go beyond North America and produce various species, from tilapia to sable fish to bass and sturgeon.
"About 500 farms over the world are currently using aquaManager," CEO Kostas Seferis told FishBytes. The majority of the firm’s clients are private companies, but there are also some government organizations that selected aquaManager in the US, such as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, he adds.
The first aquaManager version was released in September 2000. By the end of that year, it had been adopted by a number of small and medium aquaculture companies while big customers started to use the system from the beginning of 2002, Serefis says.
"In the aquaculture industry, making the right decisions about production cost, quality and scheduling at the right time can mean the difference between profit and loss," Seferis explained. "Production is extremely sensitive to feed, feed conversion, nutrient retention, health and bio-security with feed and health representing 70 percent of [operational expenditures]. Companies need to control the production process for maximum profitability and respond efficiently to a wide range of production realities in real-time."
With the complexities of growing and rearing any animal, the job isn't easy.
Seferis says that without technology, it's difficult to control cost drivers and reduce costs. "There is no timely identification of production problems or trends and it is difficult to evaluate feed and fry suppliers."
Most purchasing policies are based on aggregated means and the production planning is done based on rough estimations, he adds. The management costs are high, data collection is prone to mistakes and there is little management support for decision-making. To be efficient, he argues, companies need applications that help optimize the production process, reduce costs and improve the management of the company.
Hatchery to fish pen
"The software supports all the stages of fish production, from egg to harvest," Seferis says. "We have also developed some customized solutions for processing, packaging, and sales that are integrated to aquaManager, mainly for larger companies."
In addition to scheduling feeding and feed-to-growth ratios, aquaManager applications allow fish farmers to:
. Provide technology performance, even with very big databases with thousands of production units (cages, tanks, ponds, etc)
. Mobile and web access
. Data mining that helps companies to transform the captured data into practical knowledge to improve performance
. User-friendly: process-oriented, easy interface, has time-saving features
. Robust hatchery module, supporting all the production
processes, including live feed production for larva and juveniles
Seferis expects more enhancements in the software over the next five years. "We'll continue to explore new technologies, listen to our customers and provide them better products and services. Our target is to help the sector to become more efficient and at the same time produce in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way."
For more information on the aquaManager software, go to www.aqua-manager.com