Robots with artificial intelligence will keep the net clean

Nordlaks is adopting underwater robots from the Narvik-based company Probotic to improve the cleaning of nets. The goal is better fish welfare and to reduce environmental impact.

“We want to work with local partners, and the fact that Probotic is a Narvik-based company fits very well with Nordlaks. Probotic is far ahead in adopting new technology, possesses a lot of expertise, and aims to deliver high-quality services and products. That is also the core of Nordlaks,” says Ronny Jakobsen, head of sea operations at Nordlaks Aquaculture.

Nordlaks has entered into a six-year agreement with Probotic, which delivers robotic solutions for net cleaning. The solution, called REN-NOT, is planned to be implemented at the Grønnstranda site in Narvik municipality and will be operational by early summer. The technology is developed to operate continuously in the pens, ensuring that the nets remain clean without the need for impregnation or manual spraying operations.

“By using advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and patented methodology, Probotic offers an efficient method for preventing algae growth and other forms of fouling. The solution marks an important advancement for achieving increased fish welfare, robotizing operational activities, and reducing environmental emissions within aquaculture,” says the founder of Probotic, Mikkel Pedersen.

The robots continuously clean the nets and have sensors that can detect any holes. To prevent algae growth and fouling on nets, copper impregnation has traditionally been used. The impregnation reduces the problem but does not eliminate it completely. Therefore, it is necessary to spray the nets regularly.

“When it comes to escape prevention, for example, we see that the more you spray a net, the more you wear it down. In addition, the spraying stirs up a lot of organic material, which can negatively affect the fish,” says Jakobsen.

Probotic has tested and adapted the robots under extreme conditions in Northern Norway throughout 2022 and 2023.

“In the summer of 2023, we got to stress-test the solution properly when a cable break on the mountain cut off the internet to the site we were operating on for two weeks. This was in the middle of the worst fouling season in the summer. We thought we had to bring in a spraying boat to ‘reset’ the net, but tried to put the robot back into operation instead. After a couple of days, the robot managed to clean the net again. So, our solution not only keeps nets clean but can also ‘fight back’ against fouling. This is an important safety measure for farmers, who can keep the nets clean even if operational problems should arise. There’s always something unforeseen when we’re dealing with biology and operations at sea,” says Pedersen.

About Probotic AS:

Established in 2019, Probotic AS has positioned itself as an innovator in aquaculture technology, with the aim of offering robotic services that improve operational efficiency, fish welfare, and minimize environmental impact.

About Nordlaks:

Nordlaks is a leading company within Norwegian aquaculture, known for its commitment to quality, fish health, environment, and social responsibility. With a focus on innovation and sustainability, Nordlaks continues to set the standard for responsible and efficient fish farming.

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