Data Science for Aquaculture

This project is supported by MBIE SSIF Fund on Data Science from March 2020 to Feb 2027.


Program Overview:

The Research Trust of Victoria University of Wellington is receiving $13 million over 7 years to deliver the Data Science programme “A data-science driven evolution of aquaculture for building the blue economy”. The following is the public statement for this programme from our contract with The Research Trust of Victoria University of Wellington.

  • Aquaculture is New Zealand’s best opportunity to sustainably grow its Blue Economy, yet the industry is facing significant challenges in achieving its $1 Billon revenue target by 2025. We now have more mussel farms, but the total annual yield hasn’t increased. Could it be due to climate change? The industry depends on natural sources of spat (mussel larvae) found in springtime off Ninety Mile Beach. Little is known about where it comes from – or how best to get spat to adhere to the growing ropes. Mussel farming relies on experience, but conditions change from farm to farm and season to season.
  • The aquaculture industry thinks that data science could be the answer. By bringing marine scientists together with specialists in machine learning, modelling, and data visualization, we will develop new science to support decision-making, so farm managers can respond to climate challenges, manage disease, improve production yields, and farm sustainably at scale. Applying data science to marine farming makes sense.
  • In this programme, we will develop innovative data science techniques that will enable the aquaculture industry to produce efficiently and at large scale, producing high-quality, low-carbon protein for New Zealand and the world without compromising the environment. To do this, we will build data science knowledge in the industry.
  • Māori own large aquaculture assets. With our partners Whakatōhea and the Wakatū Incorporation, we will co-design a programme to educate young Māori in data science and create the next generation of industry leaders. All our students, from undergraduate to PhD, will work with industry within the research programme and through internships and summer projects.

  • Aquaculture data poses immense challenges for the researchers, so our programme is led by our best data scientists, guided by distinguished international researchers. Our students will learn from the world’s best.

Mussel Farm:

IMG 4486.jpeg IMG 4494.jpeg

IMG 4528.jpeg 20201201 101839.jpg

Contact us:

Prof. Mengjie Zhang

Phone: +64 4 463 5654
Fax: +64 4 463 5045
Office Location: Cotton Building 355, Kelburn Campus, Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Fangfang Zhang

Office Location: Cotton Building 351, Kelburn Campus, Victoria University of Wellington