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October 29, 2020

Bluegrove’s salmon tech hub to create skilled jobs in Terråk

Aquatech company Bluegrove has established a highly technical salmon feeding operation center in Terråk, Nordland county, which will create new employment and serve farmers up and down the Norwegian coast.

“Bluegrove has developed a completely new technology for feeding fish, which is used by salmon farmers along the entire coast,” said Bendik Søvegjarto, CEO, Bluegrove.

Bluegrove wants to contribute to economic strength and growth in the Bindalen area, both by employing people directly and by creating employment opportunities indirectly in the local aquaculture industry.

“The center will demonstrate how new technology can sustainably improve productivity in salmon farming and we expect it to evolve into a hub for knowledge sharing and technology development. Vendors and farmers will benefit greatly from having such a hub close to where their operations are,” said Bluegrove feeding specialist Mattis N. Segerberg.

Unique feeding regime

Initially, one new full-time position and several part-time positions will be created in Terråk. “The operations center will be staffed outside normal working hours, seven days a week, which is normal in the aquaculture industry,” said Segerberg.

“What’s unique, however, is the feeding regime we have developed. We understand what the fish needs, so the way we organize feeding is entirely in line with their natural behavior. Yet, thanks to the smart application of sophisticated technology, the feeding in some seasons starts as early as 4 am and ends in the late afternoon.”

Bluegrove’s feeding solutions were developed based on research and collaboration with the Institute of Marine Research and actors in the aquaculture industry. “Solutions and technology that optimize feeding are not only central to the business model of every company in the aquaculture sector. It also helps to improve profitability, fish welfare, and sustainability in this important industry,” said Søvegjarto.

“We have built a robust infrastructure and technology platform that puts our proprietary technology and hardware to good use,” said Segerberg.

Complex work

The new operation center will share premises with Bluegrove’s factory in Terråk, on the shore of the Sørfjorden arm of Bindalsfjorden, where Bluegrove products are produced through its subsidiary NorseAqua.

Many farmers already use digitally connected technology to feed salmon in cages. This enables Bluegrove’s employees to monitor the equipment and operations remotely.

“Our technology is ready for autonomous feeding, but still needs to be monitored by human operators,” said Segerberg. 

Before Bluegrove’s new employees start work in the new operation center, they will complete a technically challenging training program at the company’s operations center in Oslo. This will bolster their competence and improve their understanding of fish behavior. 

“We are experiencing high growth in demand for services such as our enhanced capacity for remote monitoring of feeding in cages on farms along the coast,” said Segerberg.

Future-proof careers

Bluegrove is keen to attract young people by giving them an opportunity to train and work in the future-proof aquaculture sector, while at the same time preventing future skills shortages in this fast-growing industry.

Opportunities will include both weekend work as well as morning and evening shifts for young people still in education.

“We have previously employed students part-time. Indeed, some of them have decided to carry on working for us because they realize that the aquaculture industry offers tremendous opportunities,” said Søvegjarto. 

“The blue economy is set to expand quite a lot in the years and decades ahead, and much of the growth will take place right here at the coast, so we will need people with a variety of skills. Out at sea, we will need operators, and on land, we will need suppliers of everything from components to corporate events. We will need scientists to invent tomorrow’s technological solutions and we will need office workers in management, sales, and marketing.

So we aim to work together with local people to create mutually beneficial opportunities both for companies and for young people, both within and around the aquaculture sector.

We want to engage with the youth in the area to let them know that they don’t have to move away to pursue interesting and lucrative careers.”

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