Huawei and its partners were awarded the Neurons Awards Special Jury Prize yesterday at World AI Cannes Festival 2023. They won for an AI-based solution designed to protect endangered wild Atlantic salmon native to Norway.
Wild Atlantic salmon are an integral part of Norway’s identity, culture, and economy. However, its numbers have halved since the 1980s due to the proliferation of Pacific salmon (also known as pink or humpback salmon), an invasive species that out-competes its Atlantic cousin for resources and spawns in great numbers.
In 2021 under Huawei’s TECH4ALL initiative, Huawei partnered with Berlevåg Jeger-og Fiskerforening (BJFF), a local association of hunters and anglers, to design and deploy an AI-based filtering system to prevent the spread of Pacific salmon in Norway’s rivers, with the pilot project taking place in Storelva River in Berlevåg. The solution uses underwater video technology and AI to identify Pacific salmon, with an automated gate system filtering the invasive species into a holding tank and preventing them from swimming upstream to breed. The system lets wild Atlantic salmon and Arctic red-spotted salmon pass through to complete their breeding cycles.
As well as preserving local biodiversity, the survival of wild Atlantic salmon is crucial to Norway’s fishery industry as the genes for farmed salmon are pulled from wild salmon.
“Norway’s wild salmon are threatened by other species, including humpback salmon and escaped farmed salmon. The monitoring system using AI is helping to stop this and enable future-proof river management,” said Tor Schulstad, Administrator for BJFF.
With Huawei’s Ascend platform providing the solution’s computing infrastructure, local partners Simula Consulting and Troll systems developed the recognition algorithm and automated sorting mechanism, respectively.
“It has been a very exciting and motivating project to be a part of. At Simula Consulting we strive to make deep tech available to everyone, and it’s heartening to see that that can include wildlife,” said Dr. Omar Richardson, Acting Chief Technology Officer for Simula Consulting.
Introduced this year at World AI Cannes Festival, the Neurons Awards Special Jury Prize recognizes projects that use AI for the common good and the creation of a better future. The winner is selected by a jury consisting of 12 representatives from the business world, academia, and the political community.
“We are honored to have won the first Neurons Awards Special Prize at WAICF. Huawei strongly believes in the power of digital technologies to build a more inclusive and sustainable society,” said Zhang Minggang, Deputy Managing Director of Huawei France. “This project is proof that AI is making a difference in protecting the planet and we will continue working with our partners to deliver change through innovation. It was with this conviction that we launched our TECH4ALL initiative, through which Huawei has already been involved in dozens of projects that have a positive impact on communities, people, and the environment across the globe.”
Following the successful pilot in Berlevåg, the scalable solution can potentially be expanded to Norway’s system of 500 rivers, which also face the same problem with invasive Pacific salmon.