Sixty Starlink satellites stacked together before deployment on in May 2019. AquaChile is investigating the use of Starlink to enable remote feeding from Puerto Montt. Photo: Wikipedia.

AquaChile plans to control feeding ‘from 1,000km’

Chile’s largest salmon farmer, AquaChile, is working on an experimental project to centralise salmon feeding operations in Puerto Montt by using 5G technology and / or the Starlink satellite network owned by SpaceX and Tesla boss Elon Musk.

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The objective is to use the real-time communications offered by the technology to control feeding 1,000 kilometres or more to the south, in the Aysén and Magallanes regions.

The company’s eventual aim “is to be able to feed all the cages of a farm from the AquaChile central office in Puerto Montt and to be able to advance in the total automation of marine operations, which allows the people who carry out the feeding of the fish to carry out their work without being estranged from their families”, it said in its first integrated annual report.

People still required

“Based on the control of images transmitted at high speed with 5G and / or Starlink technology, it will be possible to give the rations to the fish 1,000 kilometres away with the same precision that is done when people do it from a pontoon 100 metres from a cage,” said AquaChile’s information technology manager Eduardo Jure.

AquaChile’s ambition is not to reduce the presence of people in a fish farm to zero, “since there are safety requirements and operation of the modules that do require direct supervision”, it says.

But it points out that the transmission of video in real time, plus the automation of feeding systems using Artificial Intelligence, will allow a remote operator to observe the behaviour and feeding of the fish very precisely.

AquaChile added that the enhanced connectivity meant that it would be possible for veterinary controls to be carried out not only with the presence of a veterinarian in situ, “but also to obtain second opinions from veterinarians located anywhere in the world, which will allow rapid and accurate diagnoses”.