Combating Aquaculture Critics with Underwater Drones
Kiara Vallier | May 9, 2016
The aquaculture industry in general is one that receives a lot of criticism from various groups and individuals. We don’t claim that the global aquaculture industry is perfect and that it doesn’t bring about some interesting questions about sustainability and the environment. However, after spending time among various aquaculture professionals and visiting numerous farm sites, one thing I’ve learned is that the fish farming industry is an important solution to the global food security challenges that become more prominent as populations increase.
During my visits to these sites and speaking to professionals I have learned that while there are still poor aquaculture practices that take place in some areas of the globe, there are also numerous farm sites that are committed to sustainability and providing a safe and healthy food source. So, for all of those farms that works to maintain sustainable and safe operations, here are four ways in which using a mini-ROV like the Deep Trekker DTG2 ROV can help you combat industry critics.
1. Site selection and Benthic Testing
One of the biggest critiques of the aquaculture industry is that it harms the surrounding ecosystems and benthic state of the ocean/lake floor located under the farm site. With a mini-ROV like the DTG2 ROV, you can inspect potential farm sites before they are built to ensure that there are no fragile ecosystems in the surrounding area that will be affected by a farm being built.
Once a farm operation is set up and running, with a system like our DTG2 Worker ROV, you can attach sediment and water samplers to the grabber arm to perform regular benthic testing of the area underneath the farm structure.You will thus be able to document changes and take appropriate action to mitigate the risks and effects that the farm may have on the surrounding ecosystems. The beauty of having the ROV is that you can create documentation to prove that you are monitoring the area regularly.
2. Diagnostic Testing on Morts
We have designed a mort pusher system to help push dead stock into the lift-up systems on the farm or bring them to the surface to perform diagnostic testing. If a farm's stock is diminishing more expected a DTG2 ROV equipped with the mort pusher can assist in determining the cause of the losses - one simple step in maintaining a healthy farm site.
3. Monitoring the Stock
With a mini-ROV, farm managers can monitor their fish stock daily to ensure they are swimming and feeding properly and that nothing seems out of the ordinary. I learned from my visits to farm sites that one of the earliest and most accurate ways to tell if something “fishy” is going on is if the fish are behaving in an abnormal way. If they are not feeding, swimming or schooling properly then a farmer can infer that something is amiss. Perhaps oxygen levels are low or there are predators nearby compromising the integrity of the farm. By monitoring the fish, a farmer can ensure that their operations are running smoothly and take action as soon as possible to avoid potential damage or loss.
4. Documenting the Operations
With a mini-ROV, not only can you perform inspections and monitor your fish, but you can record everything you do. . You can prove that you use sustainable techniques and perform benthic testing to reduce the effects on surrounding ecosystems.
Mini-ROVs like the DTG2 ROV are the perfect tool to use on aquaculture sites around the globe. They are a useful tool that save employees time and money, offer way to teach employees about everything that goes on out of site below the surface of the water, and offer a way to prove that sustainable practices are being used on the farm site.
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