C Robotics

C Robotics

New ideas for harvesting technology

The concept of a remote-controlled vacuum cleaner gathering sea urchins or scallops may be hard to imagine. But for Norwegian ocean technology firm C Robotics, this is nothing new.

Based in Kristiansund, the company has come up with two new ways to harvest species from the seabed – the C-Disc and the C-Bud, which are seen as a more efficient and sustainable way to harvest from the seabed.

‘C Robotics was founded in 2017 to develop a suction device and come up with something that would be less harsh on the seabed,’ said the company’s CEO Rune Svendsen.

The C-Bud tracked remote controlled platform can be used to harvest scallops and other species, as well as providing possibilities for ocean clean-up tasks. Image: Robotics

‘The C-Disc and the C-Bud were first tested in 2017 at Nofima through a research project which also opened up funding opportunities. In 2019 we secured investors, obtained funding and soon realised that the systems had significant potential in many other areas as well as fishing, such as the overpopulation of sea urchins in Norway which is quite a big problem. We have been in touch with various countries, including the US, UK and Canada, where we have secured a partnership with Miawpukek Horizon, an aboriginal indigenous company in St John’s and Halifax.’

Most sea urchins are collected by divers who pick them up by hand and put them in a bag. But this can be time-consuming and costly. Scallops, meanwhile, are harvested by a towed dredge, scraping up the scallops and disturbing the seabed. With various jurisdictions worldwide that prohibit or limit harvesting methods such as bottom trawling or dredging, Rune Svendsen believes that the C-Disc and the C-Bud could be two potential alternatives.

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The C-Bud is a tracked platform for harvesting benthic species in shallow waters. It can also filtrate by-catch, releasing it unharmed before any harvested species are sent directly to the vessel for storage and processing. Equipped with a positioning system, several cameras and lights to monitor the seabed and harvesting process, C-Bud can detect and avoid obstacles, fit different sized vessels and be used for ocean clean-ups or monitoring and documenting.

The over-population of sea urchins in Norwegian waters is a problem. Image: C Robotics

The C-Disc is a hose that is manoeuvred across the seabed. Suction pulls sea urchins into the hose where they are transferred directly to a vessel. This enables divers to make full use of their dive time by focusing on just harvesting. The hose can also be easily deployed and powered from small boats and can be used from land if divers are operating near the shore.

Demand for seafood continues to grow, and while ocean health and long-term sustainability are growing considerations, the demand for wild-caught seafood is likely to remain high for a number of reasons, including widespread consumers preference for wild over farmed. In this sense, the fishing industry may be ripe for some new harvesting tools. Both patented systems have been tested in Norway and results have been promising. Having become the exclusive representatives of C Robotics’s systems, Miawpukek Horizon will soon be putting the C-Bud and C-Disc to use.

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