Salmon producer LocalCoho, which has a facility in Auburn’s Technology Park, has announced plans to bring automation into its operation. The company has become the first commercial customer of Shinkei Systems, a technology start-up that uses robotics and machine learning to automate fish harvesting.
LocalCoho and Shinkei Systems share a mission to improve fish taste, texture, and quality, increase efficiency, and reduce waste. The company currently hand harvests its fish, but with the help of Shinkei Systems, it plans to automate the traditional Japanese slaughter technique called Ike Jime, which is revered by sushi chefs and seafood aficionados. The process involves using high-pressure water jets at the back of the head to instantly euthanize the fish, preventing the release of lactic acid among other chemicals that deteriorate flesh quality.
According to LocalCoho CEO Michael Fabbro, the machine will take the company’s premium quality farmed salmon to a whole new level, offering a superior fresh product. LocalCoho plans to start using the machine this month and to sell the salmon via online retailer FreshDirect and elsewhere.
As part of the Shinkei partnership, LocalCoho has exclusive use of the technology for Coho salmon production. The company received significant funding in November 2022 from seafood industry veterans, including Rodger May of Peter Pan Seafood, to increase harvest capacity and continue to improve husbandry practices.
The automation of fish harvesting is a significant milestone for the aquaculture industry, which has long sought ways to improve efficiency and quality while reducing waste. With this partnership, LocalCoho is leading the way in embracing technology to improve its operations and deliver better products to customers. The company’s commitment to improving harvest practices and product quality demonstrates its dedication to meeting the growing demand for sustainably farmed seafood.
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