Summary

Colombian fish farmers are on alert because in the midst of the dry season that several regions of the country are experiencing, the arrival of the El Niño phenomenon is imminent and this will bring enormous challenges due to its possible negative impacts on crops. Some consequences of the drought have already begun to be felt in the department of Huila, the most productive region.

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Colombian fish farmers are on alert because in the midst of the dry season that several regions of the country are experiencing, the arrival of the El Niño phenomenon is imminent and this will bring enormous challenges due to its possible negative impacts on crops. Some consequences of the drought have already begun to be felt in the department of Huila, the most productive region.

The Government of Huila has warned fish farmers in the region about the decrease in water supply and the possible negative effects on the entire sector, “taking into account that the quantity and quality of water are crucial for the development of fish that, Due to the farming systems implemented, they demand large amounts of oxygen and optimal temperatures,” the entity recalled.

That is why experts have indicated that it is essential to carry out constant monitoring, among other actions, to make correct and timely decisions, but what are these processes currently like in the country and what tools do producers need to be more competitive in this aspect? AQUA Sightline is a mobile application that helps you minimize those impacts.

In the middle of the dry season and with the eventual incidence of El Niño, “unquestionably the increase in temperatures, the decrease in flows and the variations in physicochemical conditions of the water can affect the health of the fish and we can fall into a possible eventuality of mortality unusual in the sector,” the technical secretary of the Huila Fish Chain, Edison Javier Henao Palacios, told the media after warning that the level of useful volume of the Betania dam has dropped sharply and has put them ‘against the ropes’.

For more than a decade, the department has been a pioneer in fish production at the national level; only last year it contributed 39% to the national total. Huila has achieved these figures through the projects in the Betania reservoir where about 35% of the department’s total production is grown, the remainder is done in traditional land systems, in implementation of new production systems such as the IPRS System and geomembrane systems, according to official information.

THE SITUATION IN BETANY

El Niño has not yet arrived, however, the dry season has already put the fish farmers located in the Betania reservoir in check, and with it, the alarms have also gone off in the country. The useful volume has dropped drastically because the commitments with the generation of electrical energy must also be met since this dam has a dual purpose.

Betania’s fish production represents 90% of the total exported from Colombia to the world, in round figures there are 15,000 tons exported per year, according to Fedeacua. The United States is the main international destination for this fish, according to the Ministry of Commerce. The Betania reservoir is located in an area of Tropical Dry Forest vegetation cover in the center of the department of Huila, in the municipalities of Yaguará, Hobo, and Campoalegre.

But during the second week of October of this year, the dam managed to fall to a useful volume below 50% and this caused unusual deaths that have not yet been quantified. The situation is not completely overcome, different entities and the National Government have outlined measures to increase the level of useful volume.

Since the level has dropped so quickly, the quality of the water is not optimal due to, for example, the presence of mud, which deprives oxygen, prevents fish from feeding, and causes unusual deaths. Likewise, fish farmers in the region fear the eventual appearance of bacteria in the crops, due to changes in water temperature and having been exposed to various materials; In addition, the animals may be suffering from a higher level of stress. In short, although it is essential to improve the level of the reservoir, it is also essential to have a monitoring system capable of responding effectively to the different challenges that will arise.

Given this panorama, the technical secretary of the Huila Fish Chain, Edison Javier Henao Palacios, explained to the media that “the recommendation is to take into account the stocking densities, well, we understand that we are preparing for Holy Week when demand for fish increases; control the physicochemical parameters of the water, ensuring that there are no sudden variations because it could trigger stress in the animals and thereby reduce the immune system and any disease could attack them; and temperature management.”

However, currently, all the monitoring carried out by fish farmers is manual, which translates into a great opportunity and need for improvement to become more competitive by adopting a system that allows managing the data collected in real-time and storing the information. in a safe way.

THE IMPORTANCE OF EFFECTIVE MONITORING

The importance of monitoring water quality and other factors is such that from the city of Neiva, the capital of the department of Huila, the director of the Colombian Federation of Aquaculturists (Fedeacua) Cesar Pinzón informed the media that the decrease in the levelS of Betania and the adverse effects that this caused on the water generated unusual deaths and if it had not begun to be counteracted, it could have resulted in the loss of one hundred percent of production.

In Colombia, monitoring includes the measurement of oxygen and physicochemical parameters with nitrite, nitrate, phosphorus, and ammonium, “this is accompanied by environmental authorities such as the National Aquaculture and Fisheries Authority (Aunap), the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) and corporations. regional”, contextualized the director of Fedeacua.

Regarding the implementation of technology, the director of Fedeacua announced that they are trying to implement some software, “something has already started in that regard,” he said. In this way, monitoring could be improved “by being more automated; A 4.0 would suit the sector very well. We are a very new sector, we are growing very quickly and we need to grow in that part,” he concluded.

That is why, according to Laura Toro, Senior Consultant at SIGHTLINE SYSTEMS, a software company applied to operational performance analysis with more than 30 years of experience, a pilot of the artificial intelligence – AI – mobile application called AQUA Sightline was recently launched in Huila. Sightline achieves “99% reliable monitoring, every five minutes the physical-chemical conditions are known, which transcends greatly improving business efficiency; A lot can happen in periods of more than an hour,” she highlighted.

Understanding the reality of the sector in Colombia, said mobile application, with the most advanced technology of Industry 4.0, becomes a tool that achieves a high level of precision by generating data in real-time, through which producers can save not only time but money. Host information securely and manage it when required.

AQUA Sightline allows you to monitor water quality, feeding, mortality, biomass, inventory management, and conversion factors, among others. Toro added, “The agricultural sector often presents great challenges, not only economic, but also environmental, and an example of this is the El Niño phenomenon. For this reason, it is necessary to begin implementing efficient monitoring, with the use of technologies such as AI to control all those factors on a daily basis that allow them to be measurable or monitored with the help of equipment and/or sensors that provide precise measurements without depending on manpower.”

He gave as an example that, in times of drought, when having productions in open sites such as reservoirs, where climatic conditions cannot be controlled, “planting densities, control of upstream waters and their loads play an important role.” contaminants, the daily control of physical-chemical parameters such as (oxygen, temperature, turbidity) since lowering water levels considerably affect the temperature, causing high mortality percentages in a matter of hours, forcing the producer to move his crop to deeper bodies of water, if possible, or to have their production in ponds on land where they can be less at risk from this type of phenomena.”

In a scenario like the current one where time is of the essence, AQUA Sightline is a platform that is made available for use by small to large producers in Huila and Colombia, “it is a versatile application and is focused on the operational performance of fish farming stations. Through the application, fish farmers can make comparisons of actual data obtained from daily operational data versus expected projections in terms of biomass, conversion factors, mortalities, and so on, and take action quickly.”

Another benefit of this tool is that it works, even without a permanent internet connection: “It makes the producer’s daily work easier by being able to do without paper and fill out forms daily for his operation, to choose to record the information either on a cell phone, laptop, tablet, etc., making the process more efficient and faster; saving time to perhaps dedicate it to other types of work.”

If you want to acquire AQUA Sightline, you should know that manufacturers and industrial companies in more than 15 countries have already trusted the advanced Industry 4.0 software from the American company, SIGHTLINE SYSTEMS.

Although tilapia is grown in Betania, the AQUA Sightline application can be implemented in the cultivation of any type of fish raised on production farms such as salmon, tilapia, trout, or cachama.

HOW CAN YOU BENEFIT FROM AQUA SIGHTLINE?

With AQUA Sightline you can ensure compliance with international standards and monitor environmental impact: it works with different hardware and software sensors to generate real-time data collection, visualization, and automated creation of real-time data reports on water parameters, evaluation of current environmental conditions, and performance predictions.

You will also be able to find out about personalized alerts of possible irregularities for your particular case: it allows the monitoring and issuance of personalized alerts of anomalies 24/7, through machine learning to identify potentially critical and costly problems, such as drops in the level of dissolved oxygen, temperature fluctuations, algae bloom conditions or escapes from net pens.

Last but not least, you will be able to manage your information: real-time intelligence between facilities, use past data to create historical context, business data, and machine learning to identify possible future obstacles in production, identify inefficiencies or problems hidden, and highlight opportunities to increase performance.

Caterin Julieth Manchola Pajoy

Journalist.

Colombia, Huila.

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