Artificial Intelligence (AI) has found its way to aquaculture. However, the technology is yet to reach maturity and massive adaptation especially in a country like ours. At first we need to assess the benefits associated with the technology. In terms of operations, fish feed is the single highest cost for farms. Small efficiency improvements for feed can result in significant financial savings for the fish farms and farmers. A study suggests that up to 21% feed costs can be reduced by assessing hunger level of fish and feed accordingly using sensors, cameras and data-supported systems. Such AI powered feeding solution considers all parameters that impact not only when to feed, but how much and at what rate. On the other hand, diseases are other major cost drivers in fisheries. Aquaculture industry suffers a total loss of more than US $6 billion per year. However, parasites, diseases and fish health issues can be readily addressed using AI. The adaptive technology can now predict disease outbreaks in aqua organisms early and take preventive measures. Now, we can navigate underwater and collect data such as water pH, salinity, oxygen levels, and pollutants using AI. Shrimp producers in India are monitoring these metrics using underwater senor-based solutions. Even the concept of AI Fish, a fish like smart robot, is a reality now.
Now, localization of the technology is a challenge as well as an opportunity. Like any other technological adaptation, AI implementation in aquaculture needs upfront and operational costs along with the technical knowhow. Nevertheless, the key point is that AI can improve the ability of our fish farmers to monitor, control and document key factors affecting fish production. A supportive eco-system with policy support and interventions from public as well as private sectors can make the technological adaptation process smoother.
Dr. F H Ansarey
ACI Agribusinesses Division