Fish Farms - Inspections Below the Surface
Brendan Cook | January 18, 2017
Fish farms are tackling the increased demand for aquatic food, while underwater drones are tackling regular and ongoing inspections to ensure fish health and the integrity of the enclosures.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, by the year 2050, there will be nearly 2 billion more humans populating the earth. Meaning that we will need to produce 60% more food than we do today; Aquaculture systems could be the answer to solving that problem.
Why Aquaculture?If properly supported and developed in an environmentally and socially agreeable fashion, farmed fish could be harvested in large scales to overcome the increasing demand for more food. In addition to their versatility of being mass produced; fish provide a wide range of nutritional benefits including omega-3 fatty acids which are known to improving cardiovascular health.
The 5 principles of Sustainable Food and Agriculture - image source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (http://www.fao.org/sustainability/en/?utm_source=faohomepage&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=featurebar)
Below the Surface of Fish FarmsThere is variation in how certain types of finfish and shellfish are raised - some farms are in indoor facilities while others are located offshore in either fresh or salt water. Rainbow trout is the most common freshwater species farmed in Canada, while salmon is usually raised in the ocean, offshore. Land-based aquaculture often includes hatcheries or bottom-feeding species, such as sturgeon. Viewing the farm from land, you would see a circular or squared netted pens. Where the action really takes place is under the water, where your Deep Trekker underwater drone's camera would be greeted by droves of curious fish. A 'predator net' surrounds each of the pens to prevent escapes and to keep predators at bay.
Example Illustration of Square Pen Aquaculture Site
Aqua-Cage Fisheries utilizes their own Deep Trekker ROV on a regular basis for a variety of tasks around their facility. Through the use of their underwater drone, Aqua-Cage Fisheries is able to inspect the overall health of the fish on a daily basis without divers; potentially causing stress to the trout. From the handheld controller, they are able to navigate the ROV from the surface to survey the integrity of the nets for holes and other possible threats to the structure or to the fish housed within.
Why use a Deep Trekker ROV for aquaculture inspections?Since farmed fish are being raised to ultimately be consumed, regular inspections of their ecosystems are imperative to maintaining high-quality standards. Likewise, ensuring they are upholding to proper regulations.
Designed for portability, Deep Trekker Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) are equipped with internal batteries which dismisses the need for topside generators. Not only is it easier to move from pen to pen, it also eliminates the risk of contaminating the water with unwarranted fuel leaks or spills.
Inspections can be made easier by equipping additional auxiliary lights and cameras can to the ROVs to provide the operator with a broader field of view. Moreover, a Mort Pusher can be easily fixed onto the drone to effectively guide morts onto lift-up systems and retrieve a mort to the surface for immediate diagnostics.
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