Tagless technology for fish tracking - International Water PowerNew tagless fish detection technology based on Artificial Intelligence has been ...Tagless technology for fish tracking - International Water Power
New tagless fish detection technology based on Artificial Intelligence has been developed by Innovasea to help bring the task of fish counting into the 21st century. IWP&DC discovers how this innovative technology could be a key tool in a dam and hydropower plant operator’s toolbox
The monitoring of fish activity around hydropower and dam facilities can be a tedious task. Employees often have to watch hours of footage recorded by underwater cameras to manually count fish on the screen and attempt to identify the species they see. This time consuming and often inefficient process could however soon become a thing of the past thanks to the development of a new tagless fish detection technology that can detect, count and classify fish in real time using a combination of optical cameras, imaging sonar and artificial intelligence.
The innovative technology – developed by Innovasea in conjunction with DeepSense and Nova Scotia Power as part of the Ocean Aware project, which is patially funded by Canada’s Ocean Supercluster – has been shown in field trials to be more than 95% accurate in properly counting and identifying wild fish. Importantly, the testing has also indicated that the technology could provide a deeper understanding of how fish behave around hydro facilities so operators can both lessen their impact on wildlife and reduce the number of days they shut down or modify operations to mitigate those potential impacts.
The tagless system was initially unveiled back in May 2022, following successful preliminary testing that was performed using video of fish swimming around the Wells Dam in Washington’s Columbia River along with proprietary data sets from Emera and high resolution DIDSON imaging sonar captured from the Ocqueoc River in Michigan. This early testing showed the system was 90% accurate in properly counting and identifying wild fish. In Spring 2022, field tests were carried out for the first time at the White Rock Dam on the Gaspereau River in northern Nova Scotia. The technology was used to monitor the migration of the enormous schools of alewife that pass the 3.4MW generating project. Over previous years, the project relied on manual counting from recorded video to determine when the migration activity has slowed down.
For the field test, one optical camera was installed at the top of the fish ladder, and the other in the fish bypass. Two sonar cameras were installed upstream and downstream from the dam. Once the system was up and running, data was sent to the cloud and could be accessed in real time via an Innovasea app that showed the rate of fishing passing by each minute, the cumulative total of fish and a live camera image that gets refreshed every 60 seconds.