‘Water-forecasting’ and fish farms fed on waste: how innovation is driving the blue economy

fish farm

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Peter Beech, World Economic Forum writer


Using waste food to farm insects as fish food; and high-tech real-time water quality monitoring: innovations that could help change global aquaculture, were showcased at the World Economic Forum’s Virtual Ocean Dialogues 2020.

 

Two young entrepreneurs addressed a breakout session of the event called Harnessing the Power of Innovation to Achieve SDG14. Syrine Chaalala, co-founder of the French-Tunisian company nextProtein, and Charlotte Dupont, co-founder of the French company BiOceanOr, revealed the ideas that drove their rapidly accelerating startups.

Chalaala’s nextProtein uses food waste to mass-produce insect protein to feed farmed fish in place of fishmeal – the production of which, often from corporate fisheries’ by-catch, can lead to the depletion of ecosystems and the collapse of local fisheries. As our demand for farmed fish is growing 8% a year, her innovation could play a vital role in reducing the knock-on impact of aquaculture on the ocean.

She said that farming insects requires a fraction of the space as animal feed production – 100 square metres of space can produce as much protein as 100 hectares of soy field.

“Because we wanted to have maximum impact, we wanted to provide solutions to other problems,” said Chalaala, naming food waste and land scarcity as two key issues her business tackles. “Here, we can convert 20 kilos of food waste into 1 kilo of product.”

Chalaala’s nextProtein
Fly fishing.
Image: nextProtein

The method uses vertical farming, little energy and almost no water – testament, said session host Christian Lim of Blue Oceans Partners, to the efficiency of the insects at thriving on low input. The insect nextProtein uses is the Black Soldier Fly, selected due to its high-yield quality, and the ease of processing it into powder, oil and fertilizer. Her business is aiming to produce 100,000 tonnes of insect protein annually by 2025 – or around 10% of the insect meal market.

Meanwhile Charlotte Dupont and her colleagues at BiOceanOr have developed what they term “the first underwater weather station for real-time monitoring of water quality”. One of its many applications is for fish farmers who aren’t yet monitoring their water quality in real time.

She painted a picture of an industry that is only reluctantly changing, with water quality largely still monitored by hand. Since this process is time-consuming and arduous, it’s generally done only once a day. But once the firm’s underwater ‘weather-stations’ are installed, farmers can get a moment-by-moment grasp on conditions for their stock.

“Our first customer called us a few days later to tell us our tool wasn’t working – the oxygen levels couldn’t be so low,” she said. But the equipment was fine: the unprecedented readings had thrown him. He was used to taking his readings only once a day, in the late morning, and had no idea how low oxygen levels could get overnight.

BiOceanOr's AquaREAL system
BiOceanOr’s AquaREAL system
Image: BiOceanOr

“There are a lot of aquaculturists who don’t realize right now the power of real-time monitoring,” said Dupont. “It’s a knowledge that they transmit from generation to generation, like agriculture a century ago: ‘I know it because my father knows it’. They think there’s nothing you can learn from tools, but just as in agriculture, there’s a lot you can learn.”

“I think data will be really central in the future,” said Dupont, predicting a future where people subscribe to the water forecast just as today they subscribe to a weather forecast.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about the ocean?

Our oceans cover 70% of the world’s surface and account for 80% of the planet’s biodiversity. We can’t have a healthy future without healthy oceans – but they’re more vulnerable than ever because of climate change and pollution.

Tackling the grave threats to our oceans means working with leaders across sectors, from business to government to academia.

The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the World Resources Institute, convenes the Friends of Ocean Action, a coalition of leaders working together to protect the seas. From a programme with the Indonesian government to cut plastic waste entering the sea to a global plan to track illegal fishing, the Friends are pushing for new solutions.

Climate change is an inextricable part of the threat to our oceans, with rising temperatures and acidification disrupting fragile ecosystems. The Forum runs a number of initiatives to support the shift to a low-carbon economy, including hosting the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, who have cut emissions in their companies by 9%.

Is your organisation interested in working with the World Economic Forum? Find out more here.

“With sensitive ecosystems like reefs and coastal systems, people will be able to subscribe to the data and see what is going on,” she said. These water-quality forecasts will play a vital role in protecting ocean health.

Their session provided a short but telling insight into two crucial innovations in aquaculture as we set a course for a sustainable blue economy in the post-COVID-19 era. For more from the Virtual Ocean Dialogues 2020, you can access the whole event here.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

COVID-19: This is what worries young people the most

5G will drive Industry 4.0 in the Middle East and Africa

Is Eurozone heading towards a long stagnation?

A new catastrophic phase in the Syrian carnage

MEPs call for binding 2030 targets for materials use and consumption footprint

FROM THE FIELD: Rohingya babies conceived out of ‘incomprehensible brutality’

How privacy tech is redefining the data economy

Why home is the least safe place to be a woman

Does the EU want GMOs and meat with hormones from the US?

Property regimes for international couples in Europe: new rules apply in 18 Member States as of today

State aid: Commission approves €500 million Greek scheme to support food service companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

Diversity training doesn’t change people’s behaviour. We need to find out what does

How India can become a leader in sustainable aviation fuel

David McAllister underlines the need for rapid progress in EU-UK negotiations

Decades of progress ‘can be wiped out overnight,’ UN chief laments at climate session in Yokohama

Women in video games: ‘Accept it, or don’t buy the game’

Financing economic recovery, written by United Nations Under-Secretary-General

Why Eurozone can afford spending for growth

Pakistan has just planted over a billion trees

Don’t dismiss start-ups founded by millennials. This is how they succeed

How India’s government can build better contracts with blockchain

World leaders must put women at centre of COVID-19 recovery

EU-Vietnam: Council adopts decisions to sign trade and investment agreements

EU-wide rules for safety of drones approved by European Parliament

EU approves €100 million for the post-earthquake reconstruction in Albania

EU job-search aid worth €2 million for 500 former shipbuilding workers in Spain

New energy security framework will help meet growing needs in East Africa, sustainably – UN economic wing

14 ways to protect your mental health in the pandemic, according to Public Health England

The EU invites the US and Russia to partition Ukraine

Commission calls on Leaders to pave the way for an agreement on a modern, balanced and fair EU budget for the future

Legendary Harlem Globetrotters slam-dunk at the UN, with message that brings families, nations together

This is what’s happening to the Amazon, according to NASA

United States: UN chief ‘deeply saddened’ by deadly California wildfires

What’s behind South Korea’s elderly crime wave?

Mental health: fighting the hidden pandemic

10 ways American workers view their future economic opportunities

Understanding of LGBT realities ‘non-existent’ in most countries, says UN expert

What kind of action on social justice should we expect from companies in the future?

Lack of access to clean water, toilets puts children’s education at risk, says UN

These are the world’s best universities

COVID-19 sparked an economic crisis ‘like no other’ – but these measures can help now: WHO, IMF

Brussels waits for the Germans to arrive

From rescue animals to electric buses, California is introducing bold new rules

Over 1 million health consultations provided in Yemen in 2019: UN migration agency

This ceramic ink can 3D-print bones directly into a patient’s body. Here’s how

May led Britain to chaos, now looks for way out with unpredictable DUP

Paris agreed with Berlin over a loose and ineffective banking union

Coronavirus: EU grants €314 million to innovative companies to combat the virus and support recovery

99 per cent of intravenous drug users lack access to health, ‘social services with dignity’ says UNAIDS chief

Commission to invest €14.7 billion from Horizon Europe for a healthier, greener and more digital Europe

The invisible L word: the struggles to achieve SRHR, as HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment for lesbian population

A European young student speaks about the Youth Policies of the European Commission

How unity and common purpose can help us defeat this virus

Lessons learnt from the Commission’s 2020 rule of law report

This surprising change can help the auto industry tackle emissions goals

Eastern Partnership: a renewed agenda for recovery, resilience and reform underpinned by an Economic and Investment plan

India is failing 175 million of its young people. Here’s the solution

Impact investing in Latin America and addressing the ‘missing middle’

Parallel downfalls of Merkel and Deutsche Bank threaten Germany and Europe

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s