Data collected at Grieg’s B.C. farms will be merged with public ocean and weather data. (Grieg photo)

Data collected at Grieg’s B.C. farms will be merged with public ocean and weather data. (Grieg photo)

New blended data platform at Grieg fish farms help forecast oceanic events

On-site data combined with public oceanography and meteorology will be shared with stakeholders

Grieg has partnered with an ocean science firm to develop a real-time picture of the ocean at their 22 B.C. fish farms. The platform collates data from the myriad sensors at Grieg farms and blends that data with publicly available ocean and weather data.

Having all this information together will allow Grieg, and the ocean science firm Scoot Science, to forecast local ocean events, such as plankton blooms, allowing Grieg to mitigate exposure at their farms.

Every day Grieg farmers are collecting data on salinity, temperature, plankton types and oxygen levels in the water. Over the years, that information has been manually entered into various systems.

Now for the first time they are being collated and blended with high level ocean observations from satellites and weather stations.

“All this happens every day, so much data is collected, that we wanted to put it in one portal that could analyze and look for spacial trends,” said Dean Trethewey, director of ocean production, regulatory and certification at Grieg.

The platform is already helping to predict harmful plankton blooms, so Grieg can take action to protect fish in their open nets.

There are about 13 plankton species that can be harmful to salmon in B.C. waters, and Grieg has various responses depending on which species is blooming. Diatom plankton are a “mechanical irritant” to salmon by lodging in their gills. Salmon will try to flush them out by producing mucus, but that creates a respiratory issue.

So, knowing that the plankton tend to live in the upper levels of water, Grieg will push air 20 meters down into bubble disks, which pushes deep water up to the surface, physically displacing the plankton as the bubbles rise.

Another option is simply to not feed salmon the day before an anoxic event where oxygen levels are low.

“Having a full stomach when a stressor comes along, you will see increased mortality because of that,” Trethewey said.

They’re currently getting up to three days notice thanks to this new data platform. Harmful plankton can affect farmed fish up to 20 per cent of the calendar year in some places, so this information has big implications for productivity.

Trethewey is keen on what this synthesized data can do for ocean knowledge in general.

He wants to share the data with other stakeholders in the area, like universities, local First Nations and non-profit groups.

”Our hope is that we can open this up globally. The waters are connected all around the world, so why not connect the people in those waters as well?”

They don’t know exactly what that data sharing will look like at this point, but Trethewey said they have been in talks with organizations such as the Pacific Salmon Foundation to share plankton data. Jonathan LaRiviere, CEO at Scoot said there’s a push within this system — called the SeaState Dashboard, owned by Scoot but developed in deep consultation with Grieg as an early customer — towards data transparency.

“We are going to be set up with Grieg to really efficiently work with sea lice data and share it with people who need it,” LaRiviere said.

Regarding sea lice, Trethewey said more data from wild salmon is needed.

“Sea lice has a lot to do with salinity. We get sea lice from the wild fish. What we don’t know is year over year what are the natural changes on the wild fish.”

RELATED: DFO says sea lice levels fine, but fish farm data shows otherwise

RELATED: B.C. salmon farmers donate 60,000 pounds of canned salmon to food banks

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Fish FarmsScience

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gordon English, construction manager of the Habitat for Humanity project in North Saanich, shows off the current interior of a townhouse part of the affordable housing project. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Families set to move in to affordable housing project in North Saanich by spring

Pending completion of Habitat for Humanity project comes against backdrop of new housing report

A rainbow graces the departure of CCGS John Cabot as it leaves Victoria Jan. 7. (Canadian Coast Guard/Facebook)
Follow a coast guard ship’s trip from Victoria to Halifax, through Panama Canal

Canadian Coast Guard Ship John Cabot left for St. Johns on Jan. 7

Seattle Mariners field coordinator Carson Vitale before a game at T-Mobile Park during the 2020 season. Vitale, who grew up in Victoria, has pledged to run 10 miles a day for 2021 and to donate 50 cents per mile to the United Way of King County. (Ben Van Houten/Seattle Mariners)
Mariners coach running 10 miles a day for United Way

Saanich-raised Carson Vitale, Seattle Mariners field coordinator, plans to run 3,650 miles in 2021

A fire sparked at an encampment between the Pat Bay Highway and McKenzie Avenue early Thursday morning. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Residents of Pat Bay Highway encampment to be relocated after early morning fire, site secured for clean up

Eviction notice issued in 2020, not enforced to allow BC Housing to connect with campers

Johnathan Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight charges including sex-related offences against children and accessing, possessing and making or publishing child pornography. (Courtesy of Saanich Police)
Sentencing date moved for Saanich nanny guilty of child porn charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight sex offences against children

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Most Read