Three cutting edge Irish aquatech companies using technology to drive sustainable seafood farming have been announced as finalists in the inaugural BIM Aquatech Business of the Year.
The winning company will be announced at a conference titled “Aquatech – Ireland’s Global Opportunity” in Killarney, Co. Kerry, on Thursday, 19 October. Some of the world’s leading experts in aquaculture will be speaking at the conference.
The three finalists in the BIM Aquatech Company of the Year are:
- Aquamonitrix, led by CEO Mark Bowkett and based in Co. Carlow. It provides a revolutionary new analyser for measuring nitrate and nitrite in fresh, saline and waste-water.
- Aqualicence, founded by Kate Dempsey and based in Co. Wicklow. This is a marine and offshore windfarm consultancy firm supporting on all aspects of licensing applications and support services required for successful submissions.
- Konree Innovation, founded by Margaret Rae and based in Co. Galway. The company uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to outsmart infestation by sea lice, a parasite that affects salmon and other fish, and impacts on production.
According to Richard Donnelly, Development and Innovation Director at BIM, there are currently 62 aquatech companies operating in Ireland, all using technology to enable sustainable seafood farming at a time when the sector is facing many challenges. Between them the companies turned over €212 million last year.
“Ireland has the potential to be a world leader in aquatech and BIM is driving the sector’s development. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Food Vision 2030 strategy is to “promote Ireland as a knowledge base for aquaculture technology and research and attract external investment into the sector”. The scale of the opportunity is enormous.” said Mr. Donnelly.
He added that the three finalists in the first BIM Aquatech Company of the Year are examples of the energy, innovation and talent in the sector in Ireland. “We believe that with proper supports Ireland has the potential to be the “Silicon Valley” of the aquatech world.”
Currently 8 emerging aquatech companies are taking part in the Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) Aquatech Innovation Studio Programme in Kilorglin. The programme, being delivered by aquaculture accelerator Hatch Blue, and supported by the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund, is now in its fifth year.
The Innovation Studio will culminate with Thursday’s conference. Leading experts in aquaculture taking part include Kristen Virega, SVP Global Shrimp efishery, Neil Sims, Founder and CEO, Ocean Era and Jennifer Bushman, Sustainable Aquaculture Strategist and Communicator. BIM CEO, Caroline Bocquel, is also among the key speakers.
The panel discussion will focus on what’s required for Ireland to take advantage of the global opportunity in aquaculture, and how the ecosystem can be nurtured. Panellists include:
- Antonios Chalaris, Aqua Business Manager of Devenish Nutrition, an agri-technology company based in Belfast.
- Róisín O Shea, a Senior Investment Manager in the Food and Agri team at Ireland’s Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).
- Fearghal O Donncha, a research scientist at IBM Research Europe. Research includes high-resolution modelling of coastal systems and data driven management of fish farms and
- Jennifer O Brien, CEO of food tech company Sea & Believe.