With the turn of the year also came a change of position for Stian Staven. After working for almost twelve years at EWOS/Cargill, most recently as Account Manager and Sales Manager, he became the new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Submerged. WeAreAquaculture spoke with him to learn more about his background, as well as that of this young company.
Submerged has developed a maintenance-free camera-based sensor platform that provides a complete picture of fish health, salmon lice, and biomass in the cage. At first glance, that leap from the feed industry to the more technological side of aquaculture may seem like a huge change to Stian, but he doesn’t see it that way. “It’s always about being there for the customer”, he states.
A lifetime in aquaculture
Aquaculture has always been a part of Stian Staven’s life. “I started my experience in aquaculture when I was a kid and my dad took me to the fish farm he worked at where he was working weekends”, he tells us. After that first experience as a child, he started to work at the same farm as a summer job to earn some extra money. “If it wasn’t for this experience, I possibly could have ended up doing something else entirely”, he says. But, in 2005, he took the ‘Certificate of apprenticeship’ in aquaculture and went to Tromsø to study the same year. In 2009 he took a break from his studies and started to work at Lerøy Aurora also in Tromsø. Two years later, in 2011, he got a job offer from EWOS (now Cargill/EWOS). It would have been his 12th year there on April 1st, 2023 but Submerged appeared.
Founded in 2018, Submerged is a still young firm that has developed and delivers a unique, patented, and maintenance-free camera-based sensor platform. Stian’s arrival at the company supports its short-term objectives. “Our prospect for the near future is to get established in the market and grow slowly but surely to a decent level”, the new CMO tells WeAreAquaculture.
Always the customer
Even with all his experience in aquaculture, the change Stian Staven has opted for seems big. Used to see aquaculture from the perspective of raw materials and biology, now his prism has changed and he is starting to see it from the technology side. When asked what this change means to him and how he thinks he can contribute from his experience, he is very clear. “It’s a lot about the same, and of course a lot of new experiences, but it’s always about being there for the customer because without the customer there is no job, as simple as that”, he says.
“It’s of course a difference going from the feed industry to the tech side, but that was also some of my motivation to get to learn something new from a new market, and I really appreciate the opportunity that I have been given by Submerged”, he continues. “Hopefully I can bring a bit of the culture from EWOS that, in my opinion, has always been very good at being close with the customers”, he adds.
AI in service of aquaculture
In this case, what Submerged offers its customers is a technology that, with the help of AI, analyzes the fish in real-time and sends key data on the number of lice, the weight, and the health of the fish, as well as information about the environment in which it delivers directly to a cloud. Maintenance-free fish counting and average weight measurement, a kind of ‘face ID’ for monitoring both salmon and trout. Technology that helps the maintenance and growth of an industry that is going through uncertain times in Norway due to the salmon tax.
After a lifetime of being so directly involved in aquaculture, we asked the new CMO of Submerged, located in Stadsbygd, a town in the municipality of Indre Fosen, about this topic. “This is my personal opinion”, he remarks about his answer and tells us: “I am a district patriot and with the contribution from the salmon industry there is massive and one of the main reasons that we still have lights in the windows along our long coastline. With the size of the new salmon tax, I fear it could be a bit damaging for the development of new workplaces, new industry, and of a safe and sustainable coast district in Norway”.
Submerged AS was established in 2018 by its founders Lars Martin Sandvik Aas and subsequently Håvard Lein Braa. Both have extensive and high formal and practical experience with a certificate and bachelor’s degree in electronics, a master’s degree in cybernetics and physics, and a Ph.D. in applied optics (physics). In recent years, the company has developed a product portfolio focusing on optical and camera technology used to improve the daily lives of Norwegian fish and Norwegian fish farmers, as well as contributing to moving the research front in marine biology.