Japanese IoT Firms Tap Into Aquaculture
Thu, September 29, 2022

Japanese IoT Firms Tap Into Aquaculture

NTT Docomo's IoT buoy can track when oysters will spawn / Photo Credit: Jin Fujiwara (via Shutterstock)


Due to Japan’s recent Fisheries Reform Act, tech companies have quickly seized the opportunity presented by the act, which allows them to use underutilized aquaculture sites rather than reserving them for local fisheries, said Chris Loew of SeafoodSource, a news portal on the seafood industry. The rationale behind the initiative is to “stimulate a surge of capital investment into aquaculture.” At the Japan International Seafood and Technology show in August and the Tokyo Seafood Sustainability in November, the genesis of that investment manifested in several aquaculture-focused tech firms showcasing new products. Those products have the potential to bolster the efficiency and yields of aquaculture production in Japan. 

At the Japan International Seafood and Technology Show, Umitron K.K. unveiled a new model of smart aquaculture feeding system called Umitron Cell 2. This technology follows the Umitron Cell announced on January 25. The Umitron Cell 2 is an automatic feed dispenser for aquaculture pens that utilizes IoT technology to allow users to remotely manage the pens via the cloud through their smartphone. When used in conjunction with Umitron’s Fish Appetite Index, the timing of feeding and quantity of feed can be optimized to prevent waste. The technology leverages machine learning and image analysis techniques to gather data from video streams, which are used to measure fish appetite. The goal of the said IoT-powered solution is to minimize feed waste. 

At the fifth annual Tokyo Seafood Sustainability Symposium, KDDA introduced its bright red-colored drone named Akabot II. The drone soars over the ocean and takes deep-water samples at different locations to detect red tides. It can also identify harmful plankton by leveraging image analysis that incorporates IoT-based deep learning. Early detection enables operators to move the net pens to less-affected areas. With this system, the time from sampling seawater, detecting red tide, and notifying fishermen are significantly reduced to about 15 minutes.  

NTT Docomo showed its IoT buoy complete with sensors and communications equipment. The buoy’s sensors track water temperature and salinity. The data gathered from the sensors help oyster and seaweed farmers monitor factors “relevant to the growth of their stock.” The buoy then records “lowest, highest, and cumulative water temperatures,” which will be used to find out when oysters will spawn.