Aker BioMarine is a biotech innovator and Antarctic krill-harvesting company, and the supplier of Just Vitamin's Krill Oil. As a further step in its quest to improve human and planetary health it has launched a unmanned solar-powered ocean data drone collecting valuable information to support the science of the Antarctic ecosystem.
The drone will act as a scout for harvesting vessels
The drone, called Sailbuoy, is designed to operate independently and almost indefinitely, working in even the most extreme conditions of the Southern Ocean environment where Aker will use it. It will transmit data in real time on the location and size of krill swams, local water conditions amongst other things. It's primary function being to help Aker's harvesting vessels to find suitably dense krill swarms more efficiently - effectively it will be acting as a scout.
This is important because while Krill is wonderfully abundant in the water around Antarctica it is not evenly distributed and therefore a lot of fuel can be burnt in the search of swarms that are a harvestable size. The sail drone will allow Aker to improve its operational efficiency while at the same time reducing it's carbon footprint. Further to this it will also aid the company to expand its data collection efforts to help guide the decicions of the fisheries managers at the multinational group CCAMLR (Convention for the Conservation of Antartic Marine Living Resources) which is a international treaty managing the krill fishery in the Southern Ocean.
A precious resource in a time of climate change
The detailed data that Aker BioMarine now can capture on density and distribution, will provide a more accurate picture of the size of the biomass. This will help the industry to better guide decisions on this precious resource in a time of climate change and with increasing needs for knowledge and data.
Frank Grebstad, SVP Vessel Operations says:
“Finally deployed, after a number of years in development, the Sailbuoy is changing how we work. We can position it close to the vessel and it will do the searching for us, or we can let it cover remote areas for up to months at a time, telling us where and when to proceed.”
“As our Antarctic eyes and ears, the data the ocean drone is collecting is proving absolutely invaluable, and it is enabling us to make our operations even more sustainable and more focused, further lowering our impact.”
The Antarctic krill fishery is one of the best in the world
The Antarctic krill fishery today is known as one of the best performing fisheries in the world. For the 5th year in a row, the Antarctic krill fishery received an ‘A’ rating from the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), meaning its krill fishery is in “very good condition. Several of the krill fishery companies are also MSC- and FSO-certified, a process that gets more and more rigorous for every re-certification, and contributes to both raised standards and transparency for the fleet as a whole.