Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

OCEANFISH Report Summary

Project ID: 683610

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - OCEANFISH (Open Ocean Fish farms)

Reporting period: 2015-08-01 to 2016-07-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Gili Ocean Technologies aims to become the leading off-shore (Open Ocean) aquaculture company. This will be achieved through the operation of fish farms as well as through the delivery of turn-key projects for other fish farmers based on our extensive off-shore fish farming expertise and advanced technologies.
Aquaculture is rapidly growing. The FAO estimates that aquaculture will grow to over 62% of the worldwide supply of fish protein by 2030.However, the currently near-shore aquaculture faces significant problems e.g. relatively slow growth rate for the fish, high death rates, low stocking densities in the cages and intensive use of antibiotics in order to fight diseases. In addition, significant pollution in the coastal areas is very common as there is hardly any dispersing of organic matter in the ocean. This impacts the local ecology as well as the industry itself.
OCEANFISH aims to finalize the development and start the commercialisation of the various technologies necessary to transform Gili's existing Subflex Classic systems to advanced and sophisticated open ocean systems improving growth rates, reducing ecological impact and providing the aquaculture industry with the tools necessary to meet the market demands.
This is a significant market opportunity. To capture this opportunity, the OCEANFISH project aims to 1) increase the cost-efficiency of the Subflex aquaculture platform, 2) enable real off-shore farming, 3) enable growth of additional fish species and 4) commercialize the technology.
The OCEANFISH system is a flexible submerged system of cages. The original technology was developed with the Technion, Israel's leading technological university.
OCEANFISH is an excellent example of how humans can take better advantage of oceans in a highly sustainable manner and at the same time solve significant ecological challenges.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In the first year as an SME instrument, we have focused primarily on our R&D and commercialization. During the last 12 months, we finalized all initial calculations as mentioned in our proposal. Our priority has been improving our product by maximizing efficiency and production yield as well as leading the global offshore aquaculture market. We tracked key issues contemporary fish farming practices face today; Feeding and tracking the livestock at all times.
The no.1 expense in Aquaculture is fish feed and it is critical in the development of the fish stock. In order to get the most out of our investment in feed, we needed to ensure we have regular guaranteed feeding, regardless of external parameters, such as the weather. Thus, we designed and now are in the final stages of Beta testing of our prototype feeding machine that will allow us to be in full control of the feeding even when our system is submerged (on average 60 days / year).

We created a new image processing dead fish counter machine that allows us to know at all times the number and weight of the dead fish in our cages, therefore know the status of our investment in real time, all the time. By monitoring the fish in the cages, you can see them remotely and know what percentage of the fish is dead, therefore you know how much is alive and how much fish feed is required precisely. After a few tries and prototypes we have now created the optimal machine that is in the final stages of testing in the water and can change the way aquaculture is done today, making it more manageable and accurate for the producing, reducing manpower. Traditionally, aquaculture is done in round cages; some say it’s better for the fish, others are just used to it because it is the way it has been done for centuries. Of course a small number of farmers use rectangular cages, but no one does in offshore conditions. Can we achieve the same growth rate, the same low numbers in death on rectangular cages, gaining 33% farming area in the same ocean area? This is a question we worked on closely with our head Engineer, adding one rectangular cage in our new farm in Israel.

Over the last year we have been working on getting a new system in the water called Bereshit. We have now upscaled our production capacity of 2,000 tons in Israel; the biggest ever potential production yield on a single array. The system will lie 15 km off the shore of Ashdod and today we already have finalized the bureaucratic side of the project, receiving all the necessary permits and approvals and we have now finalized all the orders of the components to build the new system. We have also entered a partnership with a specialized boat manufacturer, building a boat together especially designed for offshore aquaculture. The assembly is set to finish in the course of the next 2-3 months, installing the system in the water before 2017. In addition to the Bereshit project, we are expanding our business abroad.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Marine protein consumption has now surpassed the until recently leading protein, beef. The world population is ever growing, yet the oceans have now reached a new low in their wild life. How can we bridge the gap between the demand and supply for this leaner, healthier protein that is no longer a good idea, but a necessity? Aquaculture is the answer. Today, more than half the fish consumed around the world is farm-grown either inland or in sheltered sites with an average annual growth of 6%. By raising fish in farms, not only rises the production numbers, but it also gives “a breather” to the ocean fish and allows them to repopulate. However, traditional farming practices overcrowd the fish, feed them massive amounts of antibiotics, and treat them with hormones and pesticides. This has a negative effect not only to the fish and therefore us as consumers, but also irreversible damages to the environment, destroying the seabed and marine life.

We, at Gili Ocean, believe that we can have it all; provide the world with a sustainable source of clean antibiotic-free fish, with a higher growth rate that does not destroy the environment, on the contrary, it preserves it and allows it to prosper. We have created a system designed for offshore conditions, often more than 15 km from the shore, that has the ability to submerge in harsh weather conditions, thus protecting both the fish and the system. Why stick and destroy the shoreline when two-thirds of our earth covered by oceans? Moving offshore and utilizing this unused territory allows us to protect the beaches, find a long term solution and no impact on the environment, except its preservation.

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