Early warning for harmful plankton

plankton seen through a microscope

Following the successful launch of the Live Plankton Analysis System (LPAS) at the recent Aquaculture UK exhibition in Aviemore, OTAQ have received huge interest from the industry, appreciating the value that LPAS provides in combatting the rising threat of harmful algae blooms (‘HABs’).

By integrating specialised AI technology to automate the detection, identification and quantification of harmful algae, LPAS saves time by streamlining monitoring processes, enhancing the accuracy and frequency of monitoring, supporting team members in making confident identifications, and assisting in the standardisation of practices across the industry. LPAS marks a significant advancement in safeguarding aquaculture against potentially devastating HAB events.

Among the industry professional organisations working closely with OTAQ is Bord Iascaigh Mhara (‘BIM’), Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, which has now placed an initial order for LPAS for use on Irish farm sites.

Damien Toner, Aquatech Business Manager at BIM commented: “A key part of BIM’s role in supporting the growth and sustainability of Ireland’s seafood industry is to assess and promote new technologies that will assist farmers manage their operational risks and efficiencies. Following trials of LPAS Beta units during 2023, we see the vital benefits LPAS brings in streamlining and enhancing algae monitoring in production areas and therefore we are pleased to be progressing our relationship with OTAQ to the benefit of Irish farms.”

OTAQ’s LPAS system

Introduction of new zooplankton analysis product development

The newly launched LPAS has undergone extensive training to accurately identify and quantify harmful phytoplankton groups, which are recognised by both farmers and academia as posing significant HAB threats to fish health and welfare in marine farms.

However, the global increase in harmful zooplankton species is also presenting a major challenge to fish farmers due to their potential to cause significant harm to fish. Recent reports of devastating mortalities at Scottish and Irish farm sites caused by blooms of micro jellyfish (hydrozoans) underscore these threats.

To address this pressing need, OTAQ has initiated a new product development program aimed at delivering precise and automated identification and quantification of harmful zooplankton species. This initiative will empower farmers with early warning capabilities and valuable insights for proactively managing this increasing threat to global marine aquaculture.

The zooplankton analysis program is currently underway, and OTAQ is actively seeking collaboration with farmers and industry bodies to participate in image collection and product trials. If you are interested in joining this program or wish to receive further information on LPAS in general, please reach out to the OTAQ team at info@otaq.com


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