By 2023 Aqua Robotics intends to expand beyond its current main area of operation, southern Norway, not only to other areas of the country but also abroad. The company is focusing on exploring and attracting other technology partners to create synergies for fish farmers and this year plans to start discussions with potential partners and customers outside Norway. So, although he will remain with the company as president and advisor, Knut Molaug steps aside and makes way for Kjetil Njærheim as the new CEO of Aqua Robotics. WeAreAquaculture spoke with the latter to learn about his goals.
With an Msc education in economy and international management, Kjetil Njærheim has worked mainly for oil and gas service companies. He has therefore no experience in aquaculture, but throughout his career, he has worked closely with business development, internationalization, and company expansion. "I am a business development mindset that values to work closely with the market and the customers to best understand how we can maximize customer value and thereby build a strong competitive advantage", he self-described for WeAreaAquaculture.
"We aim to grow the company with numbers of new customers, employees, and market share with multiples for the next coming years", says Aqua Robotics' new CEO. Maybe Kjetil Njærheim, is a newcomer to the aquaculture industry, but he is very clear about his objectives in his new position. "The goal for my contribution in Aqua Robotics is precisely to understand customer valuation and thereby grow our competitive advantage", he claims. "I very much look forward to this journey", he also tells us.
That "journey" will be 'hand in hand' with the HALO net cleaner, the world's first fully automatic robotic net cleaning system. Due to its operational reliability and the significant benefits for fish health, the environment, and profitability derived from its use, the system is increasingly being used by more and more companies in the industry.
"We are collaborating with several of the major farmers of Norway and is hold these partnerships high as we develop, adjust and improve together by the joint learning experience", says Aqua Robotics' new CEO. "We have gained great experience with the operations of the HALO and are now excited to launch a larger amounts of units to new and existing customers".
Among the collaborations Aqua Robotics has underway, is a project to adapt the HALO net cleaning system to the ocean farm being developed by SalMar Aker Ocean. "The open water farming has even higher requirements for weather and currents in which to strengthen the equipment to fit those harsh conditions", he explains. "The system will also be equipped with cameras for remote surveillance of net inspection and safety checks".
The system, which will be operational in the spring of this year, will also include cameras to remotely monitor network inspection and security checks. "This is all exciting new features that is brought to the market", Kjetil Njærheim ends.
Aqua Robotics was established in 2016 by the Molaug family, a well-known Norwegian family, also the founders of the Akva Group. The idea behind the company was to rethink how the aquaculture industry can keep their farm clean without the use of high pressures and copper coatings. Thus, out of her deep knowledge of the farming industry and her passion for technology, the company and the HALO system were formed. Located at Nordlysvegen, in Bryne, several of Norway's most advanced mechanical companies are located nearby and some of these are their suppliers.