Technology and innovation play a powerful role in Israel’s aquaculture sector, which, like Singapore, faces a manpower crunch. The Israeli government and industry have been working in partnership to drive research and development (R&D) and develop cutting-edge innovations that reduces reliance on manpower. For instance, repetitive activities such as water quality monitoring and daily feeding are automated while labour-intensive processes including grading and harvesting are replaced by technologies such as fish grading, harvesting and processing machinery.
Local farmers such as The Fish Farmer Pte Ltd have expressed an interest in purchasing the live fish harvester equipment seen in Israel during a technology sourcing trip organised by AVA on 26-29 April 2015. Unlike typical harvesters, this equipment utilises the screw elevator principle, which features a gentle rotating action that spins fishes and water upwards. This technology reduces bruising to the fish compared to the traditional suction method. The company views the harvester as an ideal solution to help it scale up its production more efficiently.
“The automated harvester is interesting because it can harvest large quantities of fish without damaging them. By employing technology for such manual processes, we can free up much-needed manpower and redirect it to other critical tasks, raising overall productivity.”
Mr Malcolm Ong,
CEO, The Fish Farmer Pte Ltd
“The automated harvester is interesting because it can harvest large quantities of fish without damaging them,” said its CEO, Mr Malcolm Ong. “By employing technology for such manual processes, we can free up much-needed manpower and redirect it to other critical tasks, raising overall productivity.” Local farmers keen to adopt such technologies, which are still not widely practised in Singapore, are encouraged to tap on the Agriculture Productivity Fund to help defray the costs.
“The trip was a real eye opener,” added Mr Ong. “We even saw how the Israelis were able to farm fish in the desert! This exposure to new farming methods has broadened my knowledge and enabled me to start exploring new technology for my own farm. Equally important were the new contacts that I have made, which have widened my network considerably.”