Tanks for All the Fish: A Company is Growing Shrimp in AI-Controlled Shipping Containers

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Farming shrimp in an open pond produces toxic effluent that can pollute groundwater and coastal waters. An AI-driven farm in a box may offer a more sustainable alternative.

What’s new: Based in Mexico City, Atarraya modifies shipping containers into AI-controlled tanks for raising commercial shrimp, Fortune reported. The company plans to install 20 units in a warehouse in Indianapolis.

How it works: The company’s Shrimpbox contains two large water tanks equipped with sensors that track pH, nutrients, chemicals, and temperature. Machine learning models automatically dispense food and adjust conditions as needed.

  • The models optimize growth of algae and fungi that consume shrimp waste. This keeps the creatures healthier and reduces the need to flush the water. The microorganisms’ own waste serves as a secondary food source.
  • Users can adjust settings and feed the shrimp remotely.

Behind the news: The seafood industry is using AI to reduce its environmental footprint in a variety of ways.

  • Norway-based Aquaticode uses neural networks to scan, classify, and sort salmon, helping fish farms to breed larger stock with fewer resources.
  • Aquabyte provides systems that monitor the health of farmed fish and predict optimal harvest times, helping to reduce waste.
  • Shinkei Systems manufactures a ship-mounted machine that automatically kills and cleans freshly caught fish according to standards set by high-end sushi restaurants, so they reject fewer fish.

Why it matters: If it can scale, Shrimpbox addresses several pain points in aquaculture. Aquaculture can put a dent in overfishing, which threatens wild fish populations worldwide. Growing seafood in tanks rather than open water won’t leach waste, antibiotics, and other chemicals into the surrounding environment. And containerized tanks can enable food to be grown near where it will be consumed, which eliminates the need to transport it long distances.

We’re thinking: The shrimp are just prawns in this company’s game.