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Smart FEEding Systems for Hatcheries: Automatic central feeding system of live food and microdiets for farmed fingerlings

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - smartFEEsh (Smart FEEding Systems for Hatcheries: Automatic central feeding system of live food and microdiets for farmed fingerlings)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2017-05-31

Aquaculture has managed to grow and develop to the point where it has currently become one of livestock’s most flourishing sectors worldwide. Aquaculture finds its main bottleneck in the process of larval rearing. The particular biological needs of the fingerlings transform this process into a very complex activity, where the parameters control and process variables have a huge direct impact on the survival, deformity rates and production cost. Hatcheries’ manual feeding practices limit the feeding events possibilities and their precise dosage control on single rearing tanks. Feeding several times a day demands high labour costs and administering large amounts of food irregularly cause fouling issues.
Every single marine or freshwater fish farm is suitable of automation, adjusting this according to their production volume and rearing species. Even when it is economically advantageous either to use live prey substitutes directly, or at least to minimize the duration of this period in the absence of a suitable microdiets with very fine particles, below 100 μm pellet size, the production process requires health standards and a methodological rigor that only automation, in its various aspects (monitoring and control parameters, power management) can offer to avoid manual biases.
smartFEEsh solution aims to respond to aquaculture sector’s need by improving hatcheries’ processes, through implementing automatic feeders for living preys. The systems is composed by two modules that can be sold separately: NOVOFEED, with a selling price of €70K) and microdiets between 75-500 μm of grain size and SMARTFEED, with a selling price of €60K. The accumulated turnover of 5 years after market launch is estimated at €8.34 millions, with a net profit of €4.19 million by a 50% profitability ratio.
Technical Viability Study: A technical study was carried out following TRL approach adaption of smartFEEsh conditions, both NOVOFEED and SMARTFEED to real smartFEEsh production scale. Analysis by quality department to adjust smartFEEsh project to FFF management system and standard requirements will also be done to meet with European standards and certifications. Different engineering suppliers and manufacturers were studied and the final marketable characteristics of both modules and the whole smartFEEsh solution.
Commercial Viability Plan: Acceptation of smartFEEsh innovations into the target markets during the 2-step penetration scheme (Europe and then rest of the world) was studied and adapted to the available information. Production facilities, capabilities, raw materials and distribution costs were calculated together with end users’ buying drivers, market trends and segment.
Risks Assessment and Contingency Plan: A risk assessment was conducted attending two key parameters: technical (software properties, , quality and whole system operation, feed volume capacities, marketable device size) and economical (price, costs and distributors network). Mitigation and contingency plan was also elaborated based on FFF production and commercial experience.
IPR Protection: Identification of the adequate protection for smartFEEsh innovation was carried out. Our strategy will be focused on patenting smartFEEsh innovations as the most suitable method for the IPR protection. A Freedom-To-Operate analysis was surveyed to ensure we can do it at least in the EU.
Partnering and end-users’ search: Distributors and local representatives, where FFF has not already operated (outside Galicia), have been contacted to identify business opportunities, needs and specific requirements. Finally we decided to incorporate KEFALONIA Fisheries, a Greek hatchery, as Phase 2 partner to validate the demo unit in a real environment.
Business Plan: A Business plan has been elaborated. Competitors, barriers and opportunities analysis has been studied and updated. Target markets, distribution of sales, benefits and production capacity have been redefined based on this outcome.
smartFEEsh’s top priorities are diminishing fish production costs while increasing the competitiveness and provide high quality, health, and environmental standards to the fish-farming sector. This will contribute to minimise both the dependence of third countries and environmental impacts, especially those related to long-term preservation of our wild fish stocks.
The EU is making financial support available (under the so-called EMFF: European Maritime and Fisheries Fund) allocating €92M to make sure that fish farmers have the best possible conditions in which to operate and be successful in. Both are key elements for the sustainable development of European aquaculture and smartFEEsh objectives.
It is important to note that European fish farm are mainly beginning to use the only partial hatchery feeding technology (AMD technology) currently in the market, which comes from Australia. With SmartFEEsh, Fish Farm Feeder, a European company, will be a leader in the supply of feeding systems for the Fish farm industry, boosting the competitiveness of Europe as leader on technology development in this strategic sector.
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