NTNU Bridgehead Aquaculture Fall 2017

Last Tuesday a bunch of students from NMBU and NTNU, went along with people from the industry to the Brigdehead Aquaculture conference at Frøya. We got see the whole salmon production cycle, from the sea cages to the slaughter, and even how the raw rest material was utilized. The next day we got to hear and talk about issues the aquaculture industry faces today.

Happy students after visting Storskogøya fish farm. Photo: NTNU Havbruk

Happy students after visting Storskogøya fish farm. Photo: NTNU Havbruk

The first day students and people from the industry visited the fish farm Storskogøya belonging to Lerøy Midt. Our transport out to the fish farm was RIB. There was a lot of waves, wind and it rained a bit, so I can say for sure it was a refreshing ride. We were supposed to visit Belsvik as well, but because of the weather we could not get there by boat (but you can read about Belsvik further down on the blog). 

Two happy representatives from NTNU Ocean Club. Photo: NTNU Havbruk

Two happy representatives from NTNU Ocean Club. Photo: NTNU Havbruk

Next stop on the visitation round was Innovamar og Nutrimar. Innovar is the slaughterhouse owned by SalMar and Nutrimar utilized the waste from Innovamar. We got to watch the whole procedure, from where the fish get pumped into the facility to fileting to freezing and storage in boxes. Nutrimar is located right next door to Innovamar, so all the sludge and cut-offs is transported through pipes to Nutrimar. Here the raw rest material gets turned into fishmeal, fish oil and fish protein concentrate. 

After a long day visiting we got served a salmon buffét at the hotel we stayed in. The food was sincerely delicious! During the dinner we got to mingle and talk to many experienced people from the industry.

The second day was the main day of the conference. It was located at Frøyas Kultur og Kompetansesenter (center for culture and competence). The main focus was sustainability and solutions that was good for the environment. The issues presented was:

  • "Strategies and plans for a sustainability growth in aquaculture" with speakers Yngvar Olsen (NTNU) and Karl Almås (SINTEF Ocean).
  • "Different approaches to sustainability from the industry" with speakers Johan Pettersen (NTNU Industrial Ecology), Vidar Andersen (Rema 1000) and Jon Arne Grøttum (Sjømat Norge).
  • "Resources from feed gives business opportunities" with speakers Kari Kolstad (NMBU), Stig Ombolt (NTNU Biotechnology), Thor Hukkelås (Kongsberg Maritime), Bjørn Egil Asbjørnslett (NTNU Naval technology) and Kjell Inge Reitan (NTNU Biology).
Discussing the future of aquaculture. Photo: NTNU Havbruk

Discussing the future of aquaculture. Photo: NTNU Havbruk

Between the sessions SFU Enganged organized a brainstorming. The groups consisted of both students and different representatives from the industry. The purpose with this was that people with diverse backgrounds could discuss problems with different angles. Kristoffer Slåttsveen (PhD candidate) and Marte Konstad led this whole session by present how to solve a problem. They divided the process in three faces with electronical logging. 
1 - Define the challenge
2 - Choose a problem and find a solution
3 - Find the resources needed

The problems the different groups should discuss was:

  1. How aquaculture can contribute to a positive community development?
  2. Profits of digitization in aquaculture?
  3. How to utilize todays rest raw materials in new ways?
  4. How to get the aquaculture products to take more room on the dinner table?
  5. How to get better welfare for the fish during the whole lifecycle?
Kristoffer Slåttsveen. Photo: NTNU Havbruk

Kristoffer Slåttsveen. Photo: NTNU Havbruk

The conference ended with comments from a panel that consisted of NTNU, Sjømat Norge, NMBU and NCE Aquatech Cluster. The universities acknowledged the value of strong connections between their students and the aquaculture industry. The ideas from the brainstorming will be used directly to future students and research projects. If the students wanted to continue with one of the project, they would be directly connected to the partners willing to support the project as a bachelor or a master thesis.

A very good learning outcome and well-organized conference. Recommend everyone to join next semester!

Link to a norwegian blogpost by NCE Aquatech Cluster: https://aquatechcluster.no/2017/11/brohodekonferansen-sjokart-2050-gode-tiltakene-ma-starte-na/

From coral health to underwater drones - a day at Trondheim Developer Conference

It has been said that an industrial revolution is unfolding under the seas. As the rapid development in artificial intelligence, robotics and big data is used in the ocean-industry, many new opportunities of ocean use and research are emerging to the surface. I attended Trondheim Developer Conference to learn more about these opportunites. 

The stand area. Photo credit: Wil Lee-Wright Photography, Trondheim Developer Conference

The stand area. Photo credit: Wil Lee-Wright Photography, Trondheim Developer Conference

This monday I attended the Trondheim Developer Conference, an annual community driven event for developers and digital designers. As a math student and self-declared science geek, I always fancy attending conferences like this as it is an area for learning, networking and dialogue across different aspects of the tech community. This years main topic was artificial intelligence and machine learning, topics of increasing interest in a broad amount of industries over the past few years, including the ocean-industry.

Paul Anton Letnes during his talk. Photo credit: Wil Lee-Wright Photography, Trondheim Developer Conference

Paul Anton Letnes during his talk. Photo credit: Wil Lee-Wright Photography, Trondheim Developer Conference

One of the speakers was Paul Anton Letnes, a physicist currently working as an data analyst for Ecotone, a NTNU spinn-off with a vision to map the sea floor. Whereas the health of tropical corals are routinely monitored using remote sensing techniques, no such established technique exists for deep-water corals. It is often repeated that the sea floor and its mysteries are less well known than the surface of Mars, though you may argue whether or not that’s correct. In his speech, Letnes talked about mapping the sea floor using underwater hyperspectral imaging in order to detect changes in health status of different coral species. The goal is to develop a remote sensing technique to monitor large deep-water coral habitats underwater.

During his speech in artificial intelligence, Axel Tidemann, a research scientist at Telenor Research, talked about his previous work at SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture using machine learning to research intelligent fish farming. As the conference went on, Alexander Vanvik and Martin Rechsteiner from EGGs Design did a speech on their work to make the world under the sea accessible to anyone. Together with Blueye Robotics, a norwegian startup company, they are working on their mission to create the best underwater drone the world has ever seen. The drone will work as a digital diving suit and will give anyone with a smartphone the opportunity to explore the wonders of ocean without fancy scuba gear or expensive professional ROV's.

Jo Røislien, another speaker at TDC. Photo credit: Wil Lee-Wright Photography, Trondheim Developer Conference

Jo Røislien, another speaker at TDC. Photo credit: Wil Lee-Wright Photography, Trondheim Developer Conference

The developer conference made me aware of the many marine applications of artificial intelligence and I realized that my passion for marine science can be perfectly combined with my love for mathematics and computer programming. There are so many career opportunities for tech students in the ocean industry as a broad range of competence is needed in the years to come. Whole new sectors of ocean use and research are opening up, so I would recommend you all to stay updated!

Visiting one of the largest smolt plants in the world!

Recirculation aquaculture is a technology for farming fish or other aquatic organisms. It’s environmentally friendly and highly productive, and is based on closed farming systems where most of the water is reused. One of the world’s biggest smolt plants is located in Belsvik. I got to visit Lerøy Belsvik on a trip arranged by one of the courses at NTNU (BT3210 Recirculating aquaculture systems RAS).

Lerøy Belsvik [1].

Lerøy Belsvik [1].

We arrived at Lerøy Belsvik after a two-hour bus drive. After an interesting presentation, we were given a tour of the facilities. Lerøy Belsvik was opened in 2013, and consists of 11 separate recirculating aquaculture systems, with three hatcheries and 8 grow-out departments. Fertilized eggs are hatched into small salmon. After 39 weeks, these small salmon have developed into smolt. The fish is then transferred to aquaculture farms in the sea [1].

Recirculating aquaculture systems at Lerøy Belsvik [1].

Recirculating aquaculture systems at Lerøy Belsvik [1].

It was fascinating to see the amount of biomass in each tank. You couldn’t see the bottom of the tank due to the large number of fish. Lerøy Belsvik produces 14 million smolt each year. All though the water looked dirty, it is very clean and maintains optimum conditions for the fish. The plant is world class when it comes to recycling. 98% of all the water in the system is reused [1]. The water in recirculating aquaculture systems is cleaned in several steps. Solids, such as fecal material and uneaten feed, is removed by mechanical filtration. Bacteria consume ammonia and converts it into nitrate in special bio filters. Nitrate is relatively non-toxic to fish and may safely accumulate in the tank until it is flushed out by replacement water or converted to gaseous nitrogen. Nitrogen is released harmlessly into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is removed, and the culture water is re-oxygenated as it is returned to the grow-tank.

The design of Lerøy Belsvik is influenced by the concern for the environment. Several filters are used to recycle the water, which reduces drainage and therefore also minimizes the risk of escapes. The energy is retrieved from the sea, and thus the usage is low. The sludge created from water filtration is used as soil, fertilizer and to produce biogas [2].

I had a great trip to Lerøy Belsvik, and learned a lot! You should definitely visit if you get a chance!

Written by Emilia Henriksson

References:

1. https://www.leroyseafood.com/en/Investor/About-Leroy/News/2013/August/Worlds-biggest-hatchery-opens-in-Belsvik/

2. https://www.leroyseafood.com/en/Business/About-us/News/20131/April/Worlds-largest-recycling-facility/

Trip to Frøya with Marine Biodiversity

The sea makes up 71% of the Earth’s area, and the biodiversity of marine ecosystems is far greater than in terrestrial ones. I got to experience this last week during an excursion to Frøya with the subject Marine Biodiversity, a 3rd year class for marine biology students at NTNU.

Angler (Lophius piscatorius)

Angler (Lophius piscatorius)

Monday morning, R/V Gunnerus, NTNU’s research vessel, took us to the small and beautiful island Frøya, west of the entrance to Trondheimsfjorden. We were 15 students, our lecturers Geir Johnsen and Torkild Bakken and the Gunnerus crew. The boat trip took around six hours, and on the way we harvested plankton; both zooplankton at 500 meters depth, and phytoplankton at the water surface. Already at this point, just looking at these small organisms, we noticed the big range in different kinds of species. Plankton comes in all shapes - some quite cool and interesting-looking - and sizes, from less than 20 micrometers to more than 2000.

Shagreen ray discovery!

On Tuesday it was time to take a look at bigger organisms, and we went trawling in Frohavet, a couple of hours outside of Frøya. Rosefish, rabbit fish, rock grenadier, velvet belly lanternshark, blackmouth catshark, witch flounder, greater forkbeard, blue whiting and angler were some of the fish species we identified. Other species included “Norway lobster”, brown crab, brittle stars, common sea stars, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, and many many more. Great fun and a bunch of excited students and teachers. In addition we made a very special discovery- a small shagreen ray, a species which is thought not to have been seen in Norway the past 100 years, got to be a passenger on Gunnerus for a couple of minutes (Photo top left by Geir Johnsen). Because of climate change, some species become more common in Norwegian waters, while others disappear. The shagreen ray had seemingly disappeared, so especially our teachers Geir and Torkild, the latter also works at the NTNU University Museum, were thrilled at the sighting. We quickly let our little friend back in the ocean, alive and well, as we would like it to spread its genes. You can read more about the shagreen ray on the NTNU University Museum blog here (in Norwegian).

Kelp forests- the tropical rainforests of the sea

Two-spotted goby (Gobiusculus flavescens) amongst various algae. Photo: Geir Johnsen

Two-spotted goby (Gobiusculus flavescens) amongst various algae. Photo: Geir Johnsen

Wednesday and Thursday were dedicated to kelp forests. We filmed with GoPros with a video rig from the boat, and handheld while freediving. We also collected species from the shoreline. Kelp forests are, together with coral reefs, the marine equivalent of tropical rain forests, both in terms of being important primary producers and making up habitats for numerous marine organisms. On one square kilometer of kelp forests, we can find more than 100 000 small invertebrates like snails and crustaceans of more than 200 different species. We were interested in discovering which species live in the kelp forests, and how the marine biodiversity is affected by factors such as depth, and hence light access and water temperature, and bottom conditions.

Seafood buffet

Thursday night was also the night of an event we had been looking forward to- seafood buffet with the catch from the trawl, made by us, the Gunnerus chef Mats and the rest of the crew. Forkbeard fish and chips, angler wrapped in bacon, marinated Norway lobster and rosefish, crab claws and crab cakes, thai soup with cod, and fried Palmaria palmata (red algae) were among the dishes. It was a great evening with amazing food from the sea, and a perfect end to a nice and educational trip.

The marine biodiversity course is definitely a course I recommend taking, especially if you have a special passion for the ocean and its inhabitants. It’s fun, interesting and social, and the excursion lets you be hands on and really develop an understanding of the vast biodiversity we find in our waters. Everything is connected- from the smallest plankton to the biggest shark- and dependent on the survival of one another. This definitely raises your awareness of the importance of conserving marine ecosystems. Sustainable management of the ocean is vital; both for the future of the environment and the ecosystems, and for the future of our own species.

Written by Ingrid Holtan Søbstad

Me with this lovely Greater forkbeard (Phycis blennoides)

Me with this lovely Greater forkbeard (Phycis blennoides)

World's first autonomous ship!

The world’s first autonomous and fully electric container ship scheduled to launch in 2018.

“Yara Birkeland” is a collaboration between the Norwegian technology group Kongsberg and chemical company Yara. The ship is named after the Norwegian scientist and founder of Yara, Kristian Birkeland.

The ship will travel between the fertilizer plant at Porsgrunn and the ports of Brevik and Larvik. By doing so, it will replace 40 000 journeys of diesel-powered trucks a year, which will reduce CO2 emissions by 700 tons. The final design of “Yara Birkeland” was revealed at a successful model testing at Sintef Ocean in Trondheim last week. The ship is due to be launched in late 2018 or 2019. At first, it will be manned by a small crew, until 2020 when it’s scheduled to be operating completely autonomous.

It’s a huge and innovative project costing around 25 million dollars. Other companies such as DNV GL, Marin Teknikk, Sintef Ocean and the Norwegian maritime authorities are also involved in the project. Developing advanced sensors and control and communication systems are some of the project’s key areas. Because of maritime law, it’s also important to cooperate with the maritime authorities with legislation governing crewless vessels, to even be allowed to launch the ship.

The project “Yara Birkeland” would not be a reality without the combination of innovative industry and advanced maritime technology. It’s likely to believe that because of this project, Norwegian shipping and maritime industry can take new international positions based on new knowledge and technology, as well as their focus on being environmental friendly. As Geir Håøy, President and CEO of Kongsberg said: “This vessel is important for the entire maritime industry. […] It’s a start of a major contribution to fulfilling national and internation environmental impact goals, and will be a global milestone for seaborn transportation.”

OCEAN TALKS - MICROPLASTICS

Last Thursday was our first OceanTalk this semester, which encompassed the relationship of consumer’s behaviour, the production of waste and microplastics, their effects of the marine environment and how they are related to human and animal health. There was a good show up to hear about this contemporary theme and to eat delicious cake.

We have good bakers in NTNU Ocean Club, There was enough fruit and cake for everyone!

We have good bakers in NTNU Ocean Club, There was enough fruit and cake for everyone!

Our very own Talal Mohammed hosted the show in R9 at Gløshaugen, where speakers told us about how plastics effect our environment, and how we end up eating the plastic we throw out. Microplastics get eaten by animals in the lower part in the food chain and accumulate as is get eaten by larger animals. The speakers was collected from the Institute of Biology, Psychology and Circular Ocean.

We also had representatives from Sailing for Science. Dunia Yunes, who are a master student and a co-worker in NTNU Ocean Club, have spent two weeks on a boat outside the coast of Turkey and Greece. She joined a research team where she and other students assisted to collect samples and participated in research. This is written about further down on our blog, so just keep scrolling down if you want to learn more about it.

We are very happy to be done with our first event for this semester and look forward to our next, hope to see you there!

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Kick Off Weekend in Oppdal

This weekend we went to Oppdal to have a kick-off with many new co-workers, but there were also some old ones. We went through a program with many ice breakers and twists planned by our president Preben.

We arrived on Friday at 19 o’clock and immediately started with some ice breakers. One example of the many ice breakers was that we ran around and had to freeze, then we selected a partner from those that were standing next to us and then we had to make a drawing of their face in one minute. I can say for sure that there was a lot of interesting contributions.

On Friday night, we got to know each other a little more with card games and drinks. 

Here we are working with the knowlegde triangle during our work shop.

Here we are working with the knowlegde triangle during our work shop.

On Saturday, we had a tight schedule with team work tasks and some more ice breakers in between. A lot of coffee was consumed that day. The last thing on the schedule was that the new members were going to make the decision ragerding which project that they wanted to work on. After a delicious taco dinner we had a little ceremony where both the old and new co-workers got a medallion before Preben sabled the champagne. The rest of the night went on celebrating with conga, musical chairs and a lot more.

Blindfolded trying to find our groups by making the same animal sound.

Blindfolded trying to find our groups by making the same animal sound.

On Sunday morning, everyone was tired after a night with a lot of fun. The early birds did an amazing job cleaning up and the others were good at helping when they finally got out of bed. I think everyone had a really enjoyable time and we are all quite excited to work further on our projects!

Sailing For Science: Belated update, September 5th

On Tuesday we sailed to Pserimos, a much less populated area. Our intention was to find a pristine beach, but the winds were very high. We were unsure if the boat carrying the bulk of the electrical equipment would manage to cross into the next bay where there were no other boats. One of our boats, the Awareness, decided to make the journey to test out how rough the waters were and see if the next bay would be sufficiently sheltered. The waves ended up being quite large, tossing our little boat quite a bit. When we reached the next bay it was not sufficiently sheltered to perform our tests, so we sailed back to meet Tomana (our other boat) in a more heavily occupied bay. Here there were already some sailboats anchored and also some fish farming activity. Nevertheless, it was much less heavily occupied here than at the busy beaches of Kos.

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Here we performed a ´mini experiment´ in order test our hypothesis about hydrogen peroxide propagation in seawater. The basic idea is that titanium, which can be found in some sunscreens, will propagate hydrogen peroxide in seawater under UV light. To see if this reaction was taking place, we started with background samples at the pristine beach. Then, one by one we had to put on sunscreen and jump into the water near the intake line. There was of course no shortage of volunteers!
 

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You see the detector on the left, and volunteers with sunscreen on the right.

After the experiment we were able to spend the evening snorkelling in the bay, looking for sea shells and fish. The Mediterranean has been heavily fished and has very low productivity, so there wasn´t much to see underwater. In addition, large patches of seafloor get scraped clean of plant life such as Neptune grass by anchors from yachts and sailboats.

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After a day of work (and certainly lots of fun), we set sail back to Kos as the sun was setting. We were quite happy to get back to dry land as the rough waves were an added challenge for some of us!

by Helene Velle Mayer

Sailing For Science: Belated update, September 4th

On Monday we started sampling and adjusting our equipment. The boat Tomana sailed to a tourist beach just outside Kos Old Harbour and took water samples.

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Here you see Nico placing the intake line for the FIA (flow injection analysis) on the side of the boat. This will be used to detect levels of hydrogen peroxide in the water.

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And Maria handling the apparatus and data during water sampling.

The boat Awareness started collecting samples for micro plastic and phytoplankton. The equipment used for micro plastic is a floating surface net, which is dragged by the boat horizontally along a transect. The net has a mesh size of 300 µm, and a bottle collecting the particles at the end.

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Here you can see the manta net for sampling micro plastics.

When sampling phytoplankton we use a smaller net, with a mesh size of 55 µm. This is a semi quantitative sampling method, where a lot of species will be represented.

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Here you see our captain, Ata, one of our head scientists Can and Songül sampling for phytoplankton.

by Helene Velle Mayer

Seafood in Sunnmøre

Away from books, lecturers and weekly exercises; it has always been my impression that the biggest and best lessons occur while I'm out DOing stuff. Thus, one of my favourite things to do as a student, is to take advantage of the many great opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. Sett Sjøbein's Marine Student Bootcamp was definitely one of these opportunities - ranking as one of my favourite "extracurricular" endeavours so far.

For one week in Sunnmøre, I got to team up with (and against) this amazing bunch of students, working with problems within the pelagic fish industry.

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The pelagic fish industry in Norway mainly concerns the two species mackerel and herring - and thus our assignement was to create a product, process, technology or marketing campaign that increased value creation within the industry, and/or across its value-chain. 

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We started by visiting different companies from all over the value-chain, giving us a broad insight into the different components that make up the industry.

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Supported by the great people of Icelandic Startups we went through ideation, wrote a business plan, and finally pitched our idea in front of a panel of judges.

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The bootcamp was intensive, but I learned a lotAbout the pelagic fishery industry, of course - but maybe even more so about the underlying processes going from problem, to idea, to concept, to business plan, to pitch. These are skills I believe would be valueable for any student, and are highly transferable far beyond seafood.

So for anyone interested in seafood, aquaculture, or just want a platform to learn creative concept-development skills - I would strongly suggest applying for the next bootcamp, which is already now in November.

Oh, and the food was amazing.

by Preben Imset Matre

Sailing For Science has Embarked!

At the moment, two of our volunteers - Dunia and Helene - are on a sailboat in the mediterranean as a part of the Sailing for Science-research cruise. Over the next weeks they'll be sharing their experiences on this blog!

Sailing for science is a new initiative being launched by faculty and students at NTNU. The goal of this project is to facilitate interdisciplinary marine research and offer students the opportunity to take part in hands on field work. Students and faculty will be spending ten days on a sail boat in the Aegean sea, collecting water samples for a broad range of analyses. Topics of interest include organic contamination, trace metal analysis, impacts of tourism on marine chemistry, phytoplankton studies and the impacts of microplastics.

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Students from both a bachelor and master level are joining this year’s cruise along with associate professors from the faculty of chemistry. Our chief scientist, Murat Van Ardelan hopes to continue growing the Sailing 4 Science program, eventually acquiring a sailing vessel. This year we are working with Asteria sailing on two 46ft sailing vessels starting our journey in the Turkish town of Turgutreis, and sailing to multiple Greek islands before our return.

This weekend the participants of the Sailing 4 Science project arrived in Turkey. We then met in Turgutreis marina and entered our two sailboats. During the first few days we have been planning and preparing our equipment. On Sunday we sailed from Turkey to Kos, Greece. Today we are sailing to a nearby beach to take seawater samples for three different projects. Masters student Maria Villegas will be looking at the effects of sunscreen used by tourists on propagation of hydrogen peroxide in seawater. Here she is describing the apparatus she will be using to fellow masters student Dunia Rios Yunes.

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The second project will analyse the levels of organic pollutants found in beach areas, while the last project will be looking at the types and quantities of trace elements found in these areas.

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In addition to our research, we will be spending some time speaking with locals and sharing our research goals. Here Dunia and Helene can be seen getting a sign ready to hang in the Marina where they spent the morning chatting with curious tourists, local Greeks and some friendly stray cats.