Ace Aquatec managing director Nathan Pyne-Carter has overseen a year of expansion. Photo: Stewart Attwood / Ace Aquatec.

Looking back, thinking ahead: Nathan Pyne-Carter

Fish Farming Expert has asked individuals connected to the salmon farming industry about their year, and what they hope for in 2021.We continue the series today with Nathan Pyne-Carter, managing director of award-winning aquaculture technology innovator Ace Aquatec.

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The Covid-19 pandemic has made 2020 a difficult year for many businesses. How has it affected yours?

We are all engaged in a crucial and highly adaptable industry, and the way this industry has risen to the challenges of Covid makes this all the more apparent.

Changes Ace Aquatec has made in response to the pandemic range from innovations (Augmented Reality (AR) headsets to support remote installations) to organisational practice - new ways to connect and remain mentally resilient as we work from home such as building fitness and wellbeing into our working schedules. We are very proud of all our staff and are grateful to be working in such a resilient and adaptable industry that has shown great leadership through the toughest of times.

What other factors have had a bearing on your business?

Investment this year from AquaSpark and 4J Studios has given us a strong remit to do what we do best on an ambitious scale. With over 50 R&D systems in development, offices now open in Norway, Chile, Australia, and Canada, and 26 direct employees (having started the year at five) we are in an exciting growth phase with many new opportunities. 

Our mission, to improve farming sensors, systems and cameras processed by newly developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) neural networks, will continue to define our brand in 2021. We will continue to champion Ace Aquatec’s vision which is aligned with that of our investors:  bringing innovation, creativity and technical excellence to everything we do (4J Studios) while putting best environmental practices first (AquaSpark), as we bring some truly ground-breaking systems to farms in the coming year.

What was the most significant event of 2020 for your company?

The most significant event of 2020 for Ace has been the opening of three new international offices – where we hope to continue to offer the same personable service we give to our Scottish customers with our unique, state-of-the-art product offering.

What would you like to see happen in 2021 to help the Scottish fish farming industry thrive?

Scottish aquaculture companies have always been firmly committed to helping us with cutting edge innovations, and we can’t do this without their faith and commitment. We thank Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) for their commitment to developing humane slaughter, not just on their salmon lines but for their bycatch and for their help in developing a unique lice removal system; SSF and Loch Duart for their support, time and expertise assisting our work developing neural networks for the advanced detection of biomass weights, lice counting, fish health and seal head detection for triggering; Mowi and Cooke for their willingness to assist us with green energy systems.

To take creative solutions further, we would echo the calls by the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, farmers and suppliers to see the creation of innovation sites where larger scale novel systems can be devised and tested and optimised for the good of aquaculture worldwide.

Aquaculture is an exciting industry to work in, and we wish everyone’s businesses continued success for the new year.