What the US needs to scale RAS, according to experts
By Liza Mayer
The United States has an established infrastructure to support its freshwater aquaculture industry, but it needs to fill gaps in the value chain in land-based salmon aquaculture for the latter to advance and mature, according panelists at the 2021 Animal AgTech Innovation Summit.
The U.S. could take a cue from Norway, the “Silicon Valley of salmon farming,” suggested Atlantic Sapphire CEO Johan Andreassen.
“In Norway you have a tremendous number of universities and suppliers and companies that are producing bits and pieces and delivering important inputs to the industry to be successful, and that needs to happen over here,” Andreassen told participants at the virtual conference in March.
“One of the biggest challenges that we have here is that you don’t have a fluent supplier industry. That is something for all the smart young people that are attending this conference and companies that are considering going into the space to look into. I think there is tremendous amount of opportunities across multiple disciplines to become a supplier to this industry.”
The need to attract a skilled workforce, considered by many as the biggest challenge facing aquaculture at large, wasn’t lost on Clement Ray, co-founder and president of Innovafeed.
But to attract people, “we need to be the organization with value,” he said.
“We need to attract talent. That’s extremely important and we need to focus this talent on developing meaningful technologies.”
Larsen Mettler, managing director of investment firm S2G Ventures Ocean and Seafood, noted the need for collaboration across the entire ecosystem, including innovators or entrepreneurs, existing producers, academia, government, agencies, incubators and capital providers.
“What we’re seeing is a lot of siloed technologies right now that can really link together to partner with industry and have a more powerful alignment. So that’s really looking at people like industry participants taking a chance validating and adopting some of these technologies and innovations.”
He reiterated the government’s role in advancing the sector, from implementing “predictable, reasonable regulatory environment” in order to encourage companies to scale up, to giving incentives to promote sustainable-solution-oriented businesses.
“So I think it does take an entire ecosystem to be successful here,” said Mettler.