Sunday, March 11, 2018

12/03/2018: Using robotic inspection technologies to minimise environmental impacts in open-water caged aquaculture

by H. Franklin, S.Macdonald, Deep Trekker Inc

On August 22, 2017, an estimated 305,000 Atlantic salmon were accidently released into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Washington State

The collapse of two large salmon pens at Cooke Aquaculture on Cyprus Island marked a catastrophic blow to offshore aquaculture, both in the United States and in Canada.

The event raised familiar red flags around the long and short-term effects of offshore aquaculture on local environments. As the waters settled and the continued legal battle ramped up, Deep Trekker Inc., looked at Cooke Aquaculture as a case study; Investigating whether the scheduled use of remotely operated vehicles (ROV) for preventative and exploratory maintenance could help to avert such catastrophes and help synergise the environmental considerations and those working to make aquaculture a viable source of global protein.

Setting an industry standard
Production and compliance are both key elements of alleviating the controversy that surrounds aquaculture as a viable and sustainable protein for the world's growing food epidemic.

With underwater inspections systems, including ROV’s and pod cameras, which allow for a consistent 360 degree view of pens and underwater infrastructure, aquaculture farms are able to produce healthy harvests while managing strict federal regulations surrounding environmental impact.

Aquaculture remotely operated vehicle

Deep Trekker ROVs have been working in aquaculture since the inception of the company, which has resulted in all of their products being built with the industry in mind. Every new tool added to the system undergoes rigorous testing at aquaculture sites before their launch. Equipped with a 330-degree rotating HD camera and a patented pitching system, these underwater systems have proven to aid in monitoring and maintaining aquaculture sites.

Examining and citing specific case studies and real life applications, we will demonstrate employment of a portable inspection system is the way forward for the prevention of infrastructure failure as seen by Cooke Aquaculture, planning for updates and maintenance, and preparedness for unforeseen natural disasters.

Marine Harvest - British Columbia
Marine Harvest is one of the most prominent aquaculture fisheries in Canada. With 30-35 farms operating in British Columbia alone, in total they produce approximately one-fifth of the world’s salmon and trout.

As Marine Harvest operations continue to expand, it is imperative that regular inspections take place on the farms, ensuring the health of the fish and the surrounding ecosystems. Since 2015, Marine Harvest has been utilising remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to monitor subsurface activity and assets.
As Gerry Burry, Site Manager at Marine Harvest’s Quatsino operation explains operating area explains “farms are like an iceberg. A person can only see about ten percent of the farm that is floating on the surface, leaving the rest of the infrastructure underwater and out of sight”.

Considering that only 10 percent of fish farm activity takes place above the surface of the water, this knowledge gap can have significant effects on the operation of the farm. Marine Harvest currently utilises a fleet of Deep Trekker ROVs, for all aspects of monitoring and observation to ensure they remain compliant in all aspects of subsurface work. Daily uses of ROVs include the installation of cages, monitoring of netting infrastructure, fish activity, and identifying potential escape routes or predator penetration on the farms.

Read the full article, HERE.

The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the
magazine International Aquafeed which is published by
Perendale Publishers Ltd

For additional daily news from aquaculture around the world: aquaculture-news

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