AutoMarus Horizon 2020 project

Norwegian Lobster Farm AS received a grant from the European Union and initiated the innovative AUTOMARS project in November 2019 as part of the Horizon 2020 program. Our project officer in the European Commission conveyed that the competition had been outstanding and that only the best, like our project, made it through. We are humble and grateful for the support and belief in our project and company concept.

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation program ever. Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness.

The AUTOMARUS Phase 2 project aims to prototype and pilot a revolutionary process for land-based farming of European lobster (EL, Homarus gammarus) based on RAS (Recirculating Aquaculture System) to later commercialize EL. The goal is to deliver the first fully automated RAS enabled large-scale production facility of EL.

EL is among the most exclusive shellfish products worldwide, but stocks collapsed in the 1940s and have not recovered in the decades since. Landings of EL rarely exceed 5,000 tonnes annually, compared to around 160,000 tonnes for the only true lobster, H. americanus (American lobster, AL), which is considered inferior in quality to EL and commands lower prices. The global demand for lobster far exceeds supplies, but the dramatic increase in capture production of AL in recent years is threatening wild AL stocks while restricting expansion. The shortfall is supplemented to some extent by spiny and rock lobsters (SRL), closer in size to true lobsters but more comparable to langoustine in taste and texture. With the price of EL at €35-50/kg, the European seafood industry is missing out on a clear market opportunity. The EU and NO have implemented measures to safeguard EL stocks, and to protect or restore discrete habitats but this has had little effect. In consequence, aquaculture is the most credible alternative approach to secure a sustainable supply of EL, but current aquaculture methods are commercially unviable as lobsters are highly cannibalistic and cannot be reared in groups, making aquaculture unscalable and inefficient.

Norwegian Lobster Farm AS has developed the first-ever land-based RAS solution for producing high-quality EL at commercial scale, using individual cages to prevent cannibalism, and automation/robotics to lower production costs, ensuring a high degree of profitability. Our unique solution will facilitate superior quality EL in a secure and sustainable process that represents a breakthrough in the aquaculture industry. Our proprietary solution, which we are patenting in Norway prior to a PCT application, comprises an advanced image processing system to monitor lobster development combined with an automated feeding system and robotic lobster handling. This novel system drastically reduces operational costs and avoids human error, in addition to unique scaling possibilities. Our solution will be the first profitable land-based EL farming solution in the world.

The project has received funding from the European Union`s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under Grant Agreement No 880911.

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Norwegian Lobster Farm