Discrete and Process Automation

Autonomous Tracking System Can Identify Fish to Control Over-fishing

20 June 2018

A research team from the University of Haifa (Israel) and Imdea Networks Institute has developed a system named Symbiosis that monitors schools of fish in real time.

Symbiosis was developed as part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 program. According to some researchers, the world fish stock could collapse by 2048 due to overfishing. If this amount of overfishing continues, it could have an impact on food sources, the economy and the environment. Scientists have been trying to develop ways to slow down overfishing with proposed regulations, but in order to do this there needs to be real-time data about current fish stocks.

The project expects to achieve a positive impact on marine biology research, conservation and policy making for fisheries in Europe and worldwide. Source: Imdea Networks InstituteThe project expects to achieve a positive impact on marine biology research, conservation and policy making for fisheries in Europe and worldwide. Source: Imdea Networks Institute

Gathering data on real-time fish stocks provides scientists and lawmakers with the proper information to develop new restrictions for the fishing industry and protection of marine life. Currently, there are limited methods for collecting this data. These methods use human-operated sonar devices to detect schools of fish in the ocean. Sonar is problematic because it is expensive, laborsome and the information gathered isn’t reliable. Symbiosis is designed to change all of this.

The current version of Symbiosis focuses on six types of fish that are currently the most affected by overfishing: two types of tuna, scad, Atlantic mackerel, mahi-mahi and swordfish. The system uses a processing chain with acoustic technology to detect a school of fish. The acoustic sensors measure the size and overall biomass of the fish. Symbiosis use several cameras, data processing image identification algorithms and deep learning to gather information about the health of the school, how many there are, what type they are and more.

Symbiosis monitors schools of fish in real time with optical and acoustic technology. The information is sent through underwater acoustic communications and then sent through radio communications to the people waiting in the coastal station. Humans can take a step back because Symbiosis doesn’t require any human operation or intervention. The system is environmentally friendly and provides reliable information on the conditions of marine fish stocks. Symbiosis monitors fish stocks within a one-kilometer radius. It collects underwater data over long periods of time and then sends the gathered information to a coastal center where people are waiting to gather the information.

Symbiosis could be helpful for nursing the delicate fish stock industry back to health. Researchers and policymakers hope that it will help the world avoid a total collapse of the fishing industry. The system will be tested in three areas and the project will last until 2020.

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