Enabling Local Fish Production with RAS: Pre-Summit interview with Yoav Dagan, Partner and VP Business Development of AquaMaof Aquaculture Technologies

AquaMaof brings more than 30 years of experience in research and development to it’s fully realised Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) technology for land-based aquaculture. We caught up with Yoav Dagan, Partner and VP of Business Development, ahead of the Blue Food Innovation Summit to talk about how the company are putting sustainability and fish health (and therefore quality) at the heart of their production technology.

AquaMoaf provides an end-to-end land-based fish production platform based on RAS. How does your technology deliver improved sustainability, productivity, traceability and fish quality?

Yoav Dagan, AquaMaof
Yoav Dagan, AquaMaof

AquaMaof’s Land-based RAS (Recirculating Aquaculture System) technology creates a unique ecosystem for specific fish species, which allows us to grow fish onshore in any environment and climate, achieving production goals. Our technology facilitates sustainable RAS production that is free from extreme climatic fluctuations, enables the production of a healthy, fresh, and nutritious product all year round, ensuring food safety. Fish farming facilities, based on AquaMaof RAS technology, can be established close to market which also significantly shortens the supply chain and reduces carbon footprint emissions caused by long transportation roots.

Adding to that, our technology is also environmentally friendly –we have several water-treatment patents and filtering techniques that significantly cut water consumption in the fish production process, and most of the water gets recycled. We have created a unique technology that makes efficient use of water and energy by working with the physical principles in the nature, and sedimentation, laminar flow and hydrocyclone – which allow us to offer a sustainable solution today and into the future.

In regard to traceability and fish welfare, we have very strict controlled biosecurity protocols in place, a rigorous veterinary health plan, and fish are raised without antibiotics or chemicals. This, together with the unique design of our facilities prevents fish disease and reduces the potential risks of predations or pathogens, which is easy to trace since the fish are being supplied directly from farm to market.

Furthermore, we also place great emphasis on fish welfare – this is achieved by maintaining balanced density, creating a unique, tailor-made ecosystem, and minimising stress.

Can you share examples of how you have successfully worked with producers around the world to create bespoke facilities for local fish production?

I am proud to say that our pioneering RAS technology is operating successfully in facilities around the world.

Some of our projects include: Grieg Seafood NL in Canada, where there is an operational hatchery & nursery facility that just recently transferred smolts into the sea. Our R&D, training and production facility in Poland is successfully producing Atlantic Salmon; we have a Catfish production facility in Slovakia; F-Trout facility that has been operational since 2014; there’s a Grouper production facility in the Far East; Proximar Seafood in Japan – is in the final stages of construction of a salmon production facility and they are expecting their first batch of eggs in Q3, 2022.

We are also working on other projects, currently in the design stage or under constructions –Kvidul with whom we recently signed a framework agreement, Smart Salmon in Norway, which is in advanced design stage, and we look forward to starting construction, and Atakama Yellowtail in Chile that will produce 900T/Y of Yellowtail Kingfish contributing to the diversification plan originally initiated by CORFO and the Chilean government. In addition, there is a Smøgenlax project in Sweden, which will be part of a circular economy industrial park, and many others.

Moreover, we are a long-term partner of our customers, providing a tailored solution and comprehensive support according to the customers’ needs and unique project requirements, including full support throughout the whole production cycle, ensuring successful production, specific needs that might arise during the facility operation, training and any questions that may occur.

Why is RAS and land-based fish production an important part of the aquaculture landscape? What does it mean for food security and sustainability and how can you see it evolving over the next decade?

There are several issues that need to be addressed  – a growing world population, and as such an increased demand for high quality protein which traditional production and natural resources can’t meet, and there’s need for a sustainable solution that can provide the answer.

Climate change, a growing awareness of environmental issues and UN environmental regulations, plus the COVID pandemic, saw the acceleration of urbanization and digitization and the closing of borders, which had a significant effect on supply chains. Countries realized that they cannot continue to rely on import/ export, and that local production which guarantees food security is an absolute necessity.

Complying with ESG criteria, AquaMaof’s RAS technology enables a sustainable, land-based aquaculture production with minimal environmental footprint, that supports biodiversity while guaranteeing self-sufficient food security that isn’t impacted by external factors.  We believe that this is the solution solving a real and growing global challenge.

We can assume that in the next decade we will see more self sufficient facilities incorporating automation, AI and machine learning, and facilities that will be part of a circular economy, such as Smøgenlax facility that was mentioned earlier.

You are joining the Blue Food Innovation Summit as a Platinum Partner, why is this an important date in your diary? Who are you excited to meet?

The Blue Food Innovation Summit is focused on safeguarding the oceans, RAS technology plays a significant role in protecting and restoring the ocean’s ecosystem, as it enables a full land-based growth cycle. We look forward to meeting the producers of the industry to discuss the latest developments, as well as other innovators and investors who have put this issue on their agenda. We are also excited to be part of this community, contributing to the environment and creating a sustainable future.

AquaMaof is a Platinum Partner of the Blue Food Innovation Summit on June 14-15. Yoav will give a standalone presentation on Land Based Aquaculture on June 14. See the full agenda here.