An update from our MISTI program Intern Yujie Wang.

How might we empower health analytics for sustainable aquaculture with sensor networks and Artificial Intelligence? Our MISTI program intern Yujie Wang has been working with this exact question through January 2021, contacting and interviewing stakeholders within the aquaculture industry. He has written a small sum up of this project, so far, below:

February 25, 2021

In the past January period, I had the great honor to join FaunaPhotonics A/S remotely as a product management intern through MIT-Denmark MISTI program in the MIT IAP term with Frederik Taarnhøj as my internship supervisor. Sea lice is the biggest threat to current salmon production. In response, FaunaPhotonics Aquaculture is building next generation real-time sea lice monitoring technology. I have been working on the initial stage of developing an integrated sensor solution for salmon farms to monitor sea lice, detecting the presence of the parasite larvae long before they become a production problem, which may improve fish farmer’s preventive treatment, planning and working models as well as enterprise resource planning with a cloud-based data platform.

Embracing the language, cultural and time zone differences, I managed to conduct initial interviews with various stakeholders in the Norwegian salmon industry, including domain experts (ex. fish health advisors, aquaculture startup founders, service business providers, and innovation managers) and salmon farmers (ex. production managers, farm operatives, service technicians), to better understand challenges throughout the salmon production cycle, validate our product concept, and map the future use of aquatic sensor technology.

These stakeholder interviews offered me deep insights and feedback on what problems our product is solving, identify the primary and secondary users, clarify ‘practical’ use cases and associated hardware requirements as well as the overall data pipeline the sensor delivers to the users. I would like to express my gratitude again to all the past and future interview participants in the sustainable aquaculture industry that support our endeavors and shared vision.

There is a lack of detection, early warning, real-time tracking, and predication system based on precise lice counting data to address sea lice threat to salmon production. Huge human labor and cost are associated with time-consuming and imprecise weekly manual sampling of sea lice mandated by the government. Together with the need of alternative approaches for animal welfare and industry reputation concerns, current struggles demand reliable lice counting data service from FaunaPhotonics Aquaculture.

The use case and associated data granularity are determined by target user group and corresponding application scenarios. Based on synthesis from the interview feedback, our sea lice sensor solution may deploy on-site targeting at fish farm managers/operatives for lice counting in fish pen, lice threat monitoring and early warning, and lice counting report to fulfill the government regulations; or it may deploy off-site targeting at scientists/ fish health consultant on regional monitoring, sea lice migration modeling, and trends prediction.

The remote internship went well with thoughtful planning and concrete goals. Frederik and I collaborate smoothly in investigating the product concept through stakeholder interviews, user-centric journey mapping, spatial diagramming, and product-centric system architecture planning. He provided insightful feedback on my progress and helped me quickly dive deep in to an industry I was previously not familiar with. Thanks to Frederik’s sharing resources and opportunities, I sharpened my product management skills and also attended the Aquaculture AI Conference that happened in Norway, engaging the frontline discussion of industry challenges and innovation.

I am pleased to see the open collaboration and data sharing in the industry, for example AquaCloud, initiated by NCE Seafood Innovation. As we are getting closer and closer to the end user of our product and problem/solution fit, I firmly believe that the strategic collaborations and technology innovations would lead us towards a sustainable and responsible aquaculture future.