Innovating offshore fish farming


In 2015 SUBflex became a SME (Small-Medium Enterprise) Instrument of the EU Commission’s programme Horizon 2020 and, in October, passed on to Phase 2 of the programme, receiving significant funding for its R&D.

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever, with nearly €80 billion of funding available over seven years (2014-2020).

SUBflex is an Israeli company specialising in innovative sustainable fish farming in the open ocean. The company has designed the largest offshore fish farm netcage system in the world, with a production capacity of 1,000 tons.

“We are very excited to have been selected for Phase 2 of Horizon 2020,” said SUBflex’s CEO, Josef Melchner.

“We are raising fish in their natural habitat, healthier and at a faster rate, without the use of antibiotics, but there is always room for improvement, we want to make our system even more efficient, cost effective and upscale the production capacity level to 2,000 tons a year.”

SUBflex developed its innovative technology in collaboration with the Technion University, Israel’s leading Institute of Technology.

The system is known for its unique ability to rotate 360°, minimising aquatic pollution in the seabed by dispersing the excess fish feed and waste. Impressively, the netcage system is also able to fully submerge in as little as nine minutes, protecting the netcages and the fish from strong currents and harsh weather conditions.

Additional features are being added to the system to automate and reduce manpower and costs. SUBflex is currently developing a new prototype feeding technology, as well as adding sensors allowing remote farm management.

By 2016 SUBflex will design and operate the largest offshore fish farm in the world with a production capacity of 2,000 tons. The project, fully endorsed by the Ministry of Agriculture, will be located in the Mediterranean Sea. Initially SUBflex will raise sea bream but a wide variety of species will be tested.

By 2017 SUBflex will expand its operations to the Pacific Ocean through its partnership with a major Chinese government institution, and expected production will reach 2,500 tons a year.

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