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					                                   July | August 2012
                              Fish farm monitoring

 International Aquafeed is published five times a year by Perendale Publishers Ltd of the United Kingdom.
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 or by any means without prior permission of the copyright owner. Printed by Perendale Publishers Ltd. ISSN: 1464-0058

The International magazine for the aquaculture feed industry

                                                                               MONITORING                by Patrick Ruthven, Technical Sales, AC-CESS Ltd

         he	 monitoring	 of	 what	 happens	                  the	fish,	but	the	feed	pellets	to	see	how	much	            day	use	at	the	fish	farms.	However,	the	most	
         within	a	pen	at	a	fish	farm	has	pro-                is	 falling	 past	 the	 fish.	 Feed	 is	 expensive	 and	   notable	of	these	developers	was	in	one	of	the	
         gressively	become	a	greater	neces-                  the	pellets	are	quite	small,	they	also	come	in	            world’s	greatest	salmon	farming	nations;	Chile,	
         sity	for	fisheries.	As	the	complexity	              different	‘sink’	rates.                                    with	an	AC-ROV	distributor	called	Mariscope	
and	 importance	 of	 monitoring	 the	 relevant	                   A	pan	and	tilt	camera	on	its	own	can	only	            leading	the	way.
behaviour	 of	 the	 fish	 developed	 so	 did	 the	           be	 moved	 manually	 however	 All	 Oceans	
engineering	solutions.	                                      Engineering	of	Aberdeen,	Scotland	developed	               Chilean salmon farming
                                                             a	two	winch	system	that	can	be	moved	over	                     The	 southern	 region	 of	 the	 South-
    Traditional	 methods	 focussed	 around	                  the	 full	 width	 and	 depth	 of	 a	 pen	 or	 tank.	       American	 continent	 is	 normally	 known	 as	
divers	getting	wet	and	dipping	in	to	the	tank,	              The	pan	and	tilt	camera	is	suspended	on	lines	             Patagonia.	It	is	possible	to	distinguish	between	
perhaps	 with	 waterproof	 cameras	 to	 record	              from	the	two	winches.	Operating	the	winches	               two	 ‘Patagonia’s’,	 the	 Argentinean	 side,	 and	
the	 data	 to	 be	 analysed	 later.	 This	 method	           together	 or	 separately	 greatly	 increases	 the	         the	 Chilean	 one.	 Due	 to	 the	 fact	 that	 there	
obviously	has	its	draw	backs	as	it	is	not	practi-            tank	viewing	options.                                      are	the	Andes	in	between,	both	regions	have	
cal	 or	 desirable	 for	 a	 diver	 to	 be	 in	 the	 pen	                                                                a	completely	different	climatology.	
for	 extended	 periods	 of	 time,	 which	 would	             Other inspection requirements                                  This	 new	 concept	 is	 based	 on	 the	 fact	
have	been	needed	if	a	true	representation	of	                     There	 are	 however	 many	 other	 under-              that	 the	 Argentinean	 part	 is	 mostly	 arid	 and	
what	 was	 going	 on	 was	 to	 be	 acquired.	 This	          water	inspection	requirements	on	fish	farms.	              the	 Chilean	 side	 has	 a	 temperate-humid	
was	why	fish	farms	started	to	look	for	remote	               The	 above	 considered	 the	 ‘product’	 while	             climatology.	 Similar	 to	 Norway,	 this	 area	 has	
visual	inspection	solutions	to	their	monitoring	             the	 following	 considers	 the	 high	 value	 asset	        an	 immense	 amount	 of	 fjords	 and	 channels.	
needs.	                                                      represented	 by	 the	 pens,	 anchors	 and	 envi-           Hundreds	 of	 islands,	 including	 underwater	
    Pan	 and	 tilt	 cameras	 have	 been	 used	               ronment.	 This	 is	 where	 All	 Oceans	 and	               volcanoes	 make	 this	 region	 unique	 in	 the	
extensively	in	fish	farms	throughout	the	world	              their	associate	company	AC-CESS	are	again	                 world	and	ideal	for	aquaculture	activities.	Due	
for	monitoring	the	fish,	feeding	behaviour	and	              providing	support.	The	AC-ROV	micro	ROV	                   to	the	pristine	water,	the	strong	currents,	the	
condition	of	the	fish	within	the	farm	environ-               (Remotely	 Operated	 Vehicle)	 is	 a	 revolu-              continuous	 water	 mass	 exchange	 and	 the	
ment.	A	problem	with	this	is	that	they	could	                tion	 in	 micro	 ROV	 design.	 Never	 before	              proximity	to	fresh	water	reservoirs,	an	impor-
only	set	their	pan	and	tilt	cameras	to	a	fixed	              had	 a	 company	 manufactured	 a	 robust	 and	             tant	 salmon	 farming	 industry	 has	 developed	
depth	and	location	within	their	fish	pens.                   manoeuvrable	 system	 that	 came	 in	 such	 a	             over	the	last	three	decades.
    The	 primary	 objective	 is	 to	 keep	 feeding	          small	package	as	to	be	able	to	be	deployed	                    It	started	as	a	project	in	the	early	80s,	with	
for	as	long	as	possible,	whilst	wasting	as	little	           and	operated	by	one	person.	This	seems	to	                 very	 small	 wooden	 cages.	 The	 results	 were	
feed	 as	 possible.	 Operators	 need	 to	 watch	             be	the	perfect	solution.                                   so	encouraging	that	a	small	industry	followed.	
the	 fish	 feeding	 so	 that	 they	 can	 control	 the	            Distributors	 of	 products	 developed	 by	            Up	to	the	end	of	the	90s,	the	salmon	industry	
feed	 supply	 rate	 and	 in	 some	 cases	 the	 feed	         AC-CESS	and	its	parent	company	All	Oceans	                 in	 Chile	 was	 growing	 fast.	 A	 lot	 of	 things	
specification.	At	the	start	of	a	feeding	session,	           Engineering	 have	 also	 had	 success	 in	 imple-          changed	from	the	beginnings	and	the	industry	
the	 fish	 are	 frantic	 at	 the	 surface,	 but	 as	 the	    menting	 the	 use	 of	 bespoke	 remote	 visual	            developed	from	a	very	artisan	one	to	a	very	
session	 progresses,	 the	 fish	 move	 down	 and	            inspection	solutions	for	the	monitoring	of	fish	           modern	harvesting	industry.	
progressively	 more	 and	 more	 of	 them	 stop	              in	 fish	 farms	 worldwide.	 In	 northern	 Europe	             By	2007,	Chile	produced	as	much	salmon	
feeding.	 The	 operator	 wants	 to	 control	 the	            in	Norway	and	Finland	remote	visual	inspec-                as	Norway,	some	600,000	tonnes	per	year.	As	
feed	 supply	 rate	 by	 watching,	 not	 so	 much	            tion	is	increasingly	being	integrated	into	every	          a	consequence,	the	net	cages	became	bigger	

                                                            38 | InternAtIonAl AquAFeed | July-August 2012
                                                                                                                                                  EXPERT	T●PIC
   and	the	moorings	had	to	be	stronger	accord-
project	included	four	tilapia	farms	in	China.	These	 identify	the	key	problems	and	causes	related	to	 in	April,	2011.	Over	40	farmers,	processors,	tech-
   ing	to	the	stress	of	wind,	waves	and	currents.	
farms	 represented	 both	 small-	 and	 commercial- water	management.	                                             nicians	 and	 government	 officers	 attended	 the	
   Huge harvesting utilising	
scale	 production	 facilities	 sites two	 different	          The	 second	 project	 is	 an	 assessment	 of	 the	 workshop.	 Participants	 found	 the	 workshop	 very	
production	systems	(pond	and	cages).	Aside	from	 regional	environmental	impacts	of	fish	farm	clusters,	 informative	and	helpful.	This	enhanced	the	produc-
        The	difference	in	Chile	is	that	the	harvest-
identifying	similarities	and	differences	among	criteria	 which	will	be	jointly	conducted	by	SFP	and	Hainan	 ers’	awareness	of	increasing	demands	for	certified	
   ing	sites	are	far	bigger	than	anywhere	else	in	
and	 requirements	 used	 by	 the	 three	 standards,	 Research	Academy	of	Environmental	Sciences,	the	 sustainable	 seafood	 from	 overseas	 markets,	 thus	
   the	world.	With	nets	of	50	m	in	diameter	and	
this	project	also	identified	outstanding	issues	in	the	 leading	environmental	research	institute	in	Hainan.	 further	 facilitating	 the	 engagement	 of	 Chinese	
   up	to	40	–	45	m	deep,	the	amount	of	salmon	
   per	 cage	 reached	 150	 –	 200	 tonnes	 and	 The	study	will	examine	the	potential	for	regional	 stakeholders	 into	 a	 supply-chain	 dialogue	 around	
farms,	which	most	producers	were	able	to	address	
as	a	result	of	the	trial	audit.	To	date,	all	four	farms	 scale	improvement	by	looking	at	carrying	capacity	 sustainability.	
   more.	 The	 biggest	 production	 sites	 had	 up	
are	now	certified	under	one	or	more	of	the	com- and	the	potential	for	zoning	in	a	specific	area.
   to	36	such	cages	per	module	and	sometimes	                                                                         SFP	is	currently	working	with	local	institutes	of	
mercial	aquaculture	standards. These	 huge	 sites	 As	 more	 first-hand	 data	 becomes	 available	 aquaculture	and	environmental	sciences	to	identify	
   three	 modules	 in	 parallel.	
   had	 to	widely	 acknowledged	 for	weights	 of	 up	 (along	 with	 a	 more	 in-depth	 understanding	 of	 and	 evaluate	 both	 qualitatively	 and	 quantitatively	
     SFP	 is	 be	 moored	 with	 dead	 its	 expertise	
   to	20	tonnes	each,	sometimes	with	more	than	 existing	 policies	 and	 management	 measures),	 the	 the	 environmental	 impacts	 of	 tilapia	 farming	 in	
by	 stakeholders	 in	 Chinese	 tilapia,	 including	 key	
US	and	European	buyers	and	retailers,	as	well	as	 AIP	will	establish	a	working	group	that	convenes	 Hainan.	This	includes	an	ecological	study	as	well	as	
   700	tonnes	of	weight	for	each	site.	The	deep	
   fjords	combined	with	strong	currents	and	the	 the	key	buyers,	suppliers	and	producers	along	the	 socio-political	analysis	to	advise	local	governments	
producers	 and	 processors	 in	 China,	 aquaculture	
institutes,	 industry	 associations,	 and	 local	 Chinese	 Chinese	tilapia	supply-chain	to	share	the	scientific	 and	industrial	associations	about	how	to	efficiently	
   action	of	waves	made	completely	new	moor-
governments.	Given	the	high	level	of	trust	that	SFP	 findings.	The	AIP	will	then	form	a	multi-stakeholder	 address	 the	 environmental	 issues	 associated	 with	
   ing	 designs	 necessary.	 Problems	 arose,	 since	
enjoys	with	the	tilapia	supply	chain	it	was	appropri- policy	roundtable	to	further	discuss	the	problems	 tilapia	farming	in	Hainan.	The	preliminary	results	will	
   often	the	more	than	1	km	long	mooring	lines	
ate	that	a	tilapia	Aquaculture	Improvement	Project	 and	solutions.	The	AIP	participants	will	eventually	 be	shared	with	key	stakeholders	at	the	Aquaculture	
   crossed	each	other	during	installation	and	suf-
   fered	damage	during	the	operation.	Accidents	 agree	on	the	actions	and	timetables	necessary	to	 Policy	Roundtable	this	fall	in	China.	
(AIP)	was	officially	launched	in	2011.                       in	 order	 to	 complete	 their	 diet.	 Therefore	 have	to	fight	day	in	day	out	with	the	extreme	
   with	total	or	partial	loss	of	harvesting	sites	and	 achieve	 the	 sustainability	 objectives	 defined	 by	
     SFP	has	now	initiated	two	research	projects	                                                                     SFP	 they	 are	 located	 partnerships	 with	
                                                             salmon	farmers	need	to	protect	the	net	cages	 area	 is	 also	 developing	 in.	 In	 comparison,	
to	millions	of	dollars	in	fish	loss	resulted	from	a	 the	group.	SFP	will	play	a	leading	role	in	engaging	 Chinese	universities	and	large	feed	manufacturers	 is	
     assess	 the	 impact	 of	 tilapia	 farming	 on	 the	     with	 special	 sea	 lion	 nets	 that	 involve	 the	 the	 maximum	 current	 velocity	 in	 Norway	
external	environment.	The	first	project,	started	 stakeholders,	providing	scientific	advice	and	facilitat- to	around	 0.5	 knots	 in	 salmon	 producing	 areas.	
   lack	of	inspection	of	the	underwater	environ- original	nets.	                                                      improve	 feed	 sourcing	 for	 tilapia	 farming	 in	
in	April	2011,	involves	monitoring	water	qual- ing	communication.
   ment	and	installations.                                                                                           Extreme	 weather	 conditions	 with	 very	 fast	
                                                                 To	complete	the	image	before	we	look	at	 China.	 This	 work	 is	 to	 be	 undertaken	 through	
ity	 on	 selected	 farms	 in	 Hainan	 province,	 and	                                                                changing	 winds	 (there	 is	 a	 feeding	 efficien-
                                                             the	 ROVs	 in	 this	 context,	 a	 couple	 of	 other	 research	 projects	 on	 improving	lot	 of	 ocean	 and	
   Extreme conditions
was	 undertaken	 by	 the	 Hainan	 Institute	 of	 Up-to-date progress
                                                             aspects	have	to	be	explained.	The	harvesting	 cy	very	 few	 land	 masses	 at	 these	 latitudes)	 are	
                                                                                                                      and	 developing	 alternative	 feeds	 with	 fewer	
Aquaculture.	 Dozens	 of	 water	 quality	 param-                                                                     just	another	problem	of	working	in	this	area.
                                                             sites	 are	 all	 located	 in	 relatively	 protected	 impacts	on	wild	fisheries.
        Since	this	harvesting	happens	in	Patagonia,	 SFP	has	worked	closely	with	local	tilapia	associa-
   there	are	some	peculiarities	related	with	this	 inshore	waters,	not	in	the	open	Pacific	Ocean.	
eters	such	as	chemical	oxygen	demand	(COD),	 tions	 to	 assess	 different	 tilapia	 standards	 that	 are	
nitrogen	 and	 phosphorus	 content,	 and	 heavy	 available	 in	 the	 market.	 A	 workshop	 all	 but	 calm.	 More InforMatIon: ROVs
   region	at	the	world’s	end:	in	this	case	the	sea	 Nevertheless,	 these	 waters	 are	 introducing	
metals	 were	 analysed	 for	 five	 farms	 over	 two	 three	international	standards	for	tilapia	farming,	i.e.	 Sustainable Fisheries Partnership started	 to	 ask	 for	
   lions.	These	predators	find	it	most	interesting	 With	currents	of	up	to	five	knots	and	depth	                         Insurance	 companies	
croppings	 (10	 months).	 The	 study	 helped	 BAP,	 GlobalGAP,	 and	 ASC,	 was	 held	 in	 Haikou	 Website: sites	 were	 moored	
   to	 attack	 the	 cages	 filled	 up	 with	 salmons	 over	 500	 m,	 salmon	 producing	 companies	 better	 control	 after	 the	

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                                                         July-August 2012 | InternAtIonAl AquAFeed | 39

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                                                                                       July-August 2012 | InternAtIonAl AquAFeed | 41

and	 during	 the	 operational	 time.	 Additional	         to	 inspect	 the	 sea	 lion	 nets	 and	 to	 repair	    disinfection	processes	before	and	after	leaving	
problems	 arose	 through	 heavy	 bio-fouling,	            them.	 Since	 these	 nets	 sometimes	 reach	 as	       the	fish	pens.	For	many	fish	farms	this	asserted	
increasing	 the	 weight	 of	 the	 nets	 by	 four	 to	     deep	as	70	m,	dive	time	is	reduced	also	reduc-         ROVs	 as	 the	 most	 cost	 effective	 and	 simple	
five	 times	 their	 original	 mass.	 This	 was	 the	      ing	 the	 cost	 effectiveness	 of	 using	 a	 diver.	   solution	for	monitoring.	
moment	where	ROVs	appeared	on	the	scene.	                 Through	 lax	 regulations	 and	 control	 divers	           Some	 of	 the	 larger	 companies,	 such	 as	
Mariscope	started	with	the	first	inspections	for	         very	often	suffer	severe	injuries	from	the	long	       Marine	 Harvest,	 have	 developed	 ROVs	 to	
the	insurance	companies	around	2002.	                     and	deep	exposure	and	mortality	among	the	             clean	away	the	dead	fish	killed	by	disease	from	
    Initially	 just	 a	 couple	 of	 mooring	 lines	       industry	divers	still	remains	relatively	high.	As	     the	 bottom	 of	 the	 nets	 using	 ‘lift	 up’	 suction	
were	 inspected	 from	 the	 top	 buoy	 to	 the	           a	consequence	ROVs	started	to	be	used	per-             tubes	 attached	 to	 the	 ROVs.	 Additionally,	
seabed.	 These	 inspections	 demonstrated	 a	             manently	 for	 the	 net	 inspections.	 The	 divers	    over	 the	 years	 there	 has	 been	 an	 accumula-
                                                                                                                 tion	of	rubbish	under	the	net	cages.	
                                                                                                                     Since	this	and	bio-fouling	continues	to	be	a	
                                                                                                                 problem	and	also	the	copper	based	antifouling	
                                                                                                                 paints	 are	 decaying,	 ROVs	 are	 used	 to	 clean	
                                                                                                                 the	 nets	 while	 installed.	 More	 and	 more,	
                                                                                                                 ROVs	 are	 changing	 from	 purely	 inspection	
                                                                                                                 systems	to	light	work	class	units	that	are	able	
                                                                                                                 to	pick	up	materials,	carry	instruments	or	carry	
                                                                                                                 out	cleaning	tasks.

                                                                                                                 Next Generation ROVs
                                                                                                                     At	 Mariscope,	 System	 Integration	 is	 the	
                                                                                                                 basis	 for	 new	 ROVs.	 These	 vehicles	 have	 a	
                                                                                                                 completely	 different	 concept	 from	 standard	
                                                                                                                 light	 work	 class	 ROVs.	 Normally	 these	 types	
                                                                                                                 of	vehicles	are	equipped	with	one	or	at	best	
                                                                                                                 two	manipulators,	a	tracking	device	and	some	
                                                                                                                 kind	 of	 sonar.	 If	 you	 then	 have	 a	 couple	 of	
                                                                                                                 laser	pointers	and	a	HDTV	camera	on	board,	
                                                                                                                 you	are	already	at	the	top	of	the	range.	In	the	
                                                                                                                 case	of	the	new	generation	of	light	work	class	
                                                                                                                 ROVs,	the	vehicles	are	equipped	with	a	wide	
                                                                                                                 range	 of	 oceanographic	 measuring	 devices.	
                                                                                                                 You	 can	 think	 of	 them	 as	 small	 underwater	
                                                                                                                 research	 vessels.	 Sensors	 like	 CO2,	 H2S,	 Oil	
                                                                                                                 in	 Water	 CTDs,	 Turbidity	 and	 Chla	 just	 to	
                                                                                                                 name	a	few,	are	installed	on	board	and	low-
                                                                                                                 ered	 under	 the	 cages,	 where	 other	 systems	
                                                                                                                 can	 not	 get	 to.	 Here,	 under	 the	 cages,	 the	
                                                                                                                 sediments	grow	and	are	contaminated	due	to	
                                                                                                                 the	activities	on	the	surface	and	are	the	focus	
                                                                                                                 for	new	diseases.	Measurements	will	help	the	
                                                                                                                 producers	 to	 take	 the	 correct	 decisions	 for	
                                                                                                                 the	future	of	their	sites.
                                                                                                                     But	 these	 underwater	 labs	 are	 also	 useful	
                                                                                                                 in	other	branches	like	offshore,	 research,	 pol-
                                                                                                                 lution	detection,	salvage	operation	and	others.	
                                                                                                                 The	more	real	data	you	have,	 the	better	you	
                                                                                                                 will	 be	 able	 to	 take	 operational	 decisions.	
                                                                                                                 Modern,	 high	 efficient	 microprocessor	 based	
                                                                                                                 ROV	 electronics,	 coupled	 with	 high-end	 sen-
                                                                                                                 sors	 and	 measuring	 devices	 are	 opening	 a	
lot	 of	 problems	 in	 the	 way	 moorings	 were	          that	 had	 been	 diving	 for	 years	 repairing	 and	   new	 world	 of	 opportunities	 for	 light	 work	
deployed.	Big	risks	for	the	salmon	companies	             inspecting	the	nets	can	now	be	found	operat-           class	and	micro-ROVs.	                            ■
and	 for	 the	 insurance	 companies	 appeared.	           ing	the	ROVs.	
More	 and	 more,	 complete	 and	 periodical	                  Over	 the	 last	 couple	 of	 years,	 the	 fish	
inspections	 took	 place,	 reducing	 the	 amount	         farming	industry	in	Chile	suffered	from	several	
of	 accidents	 and	 the	 risk	 of	 losing	 sites	 and	    diseases,	 some	 of	 them	 as	 a	 result	 of	 over	      Tel: +44 1224 790100
stock.	                                                   production	 and	 increased	 stock	 density.	 The	        Fax: +44 1224 790111
    Additionally,	 mooring	 companies	 had	 the	          industry	 was	 hardest	 hit	 in	 2007	 after	 the	       Email:
possibility	to	check	their	work	and	learn	how	            infectious	 salmon	 anemia	 outbreak,	 which	            Website:
to	change	procedures	to	be	more	efficient.                depleted	stocks	drastically.	
                                                              Following	this,	laws	in	Chile	were	changed	          Website:
Divers to ROVs                                            so	 that	 divers	 and	 the	 equipment	 that	 serv-
   Divers	had	been	used	since	the	beginning	              iced	 the	 divers	 had	 to	 go	 through	 stringent	

                                                         40 | InternAtIonAl AquAFeed | July-August 2012
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Description: The monitoring of what happens within a pen at a fish farm has progressively become a greater necessity for fisheries. As the complexity and importance of monitoring the relevant behaviour of the fish developed so did the engineering solutions.