Gaming technology used to assess fish stocks
By Lindsey Partos, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Paris
12 October, 2010
British scientists are using gaming technology to devise a tool to improve the complex job of assessing fish stocks.
Researchers at the United Kingdom’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) will plant three axis accelerometer sensors into fish to track their metabolic rate and movement. According to the scientists, the electronic tags can detect movement in any direction, similar to Nintendo Wii remote controls.
“It is incredible to think that the same technology we use to play computer games could eventually help us in our predictions of future fish stocks,” said UK Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon.
Globally, gaovernment policies regarding fisheries hinge on scientific advice and stock predictions. Far from an exact science, this complicated area is frequently a point of contention between stakeholders. But work by CEFAS scientists on the Wii-style sensors could improve stock assessments.
CEFAS said it has already trialed an electronic tag that can log every time a fish opens its mouth. Researchers have found the tag so successful that they now plan to use a full production version of the Wii-style sensors to monitor cod’s feeding habits. The tag, which costs up to GBP 800 (USD 1, 264, EUR 915) apiece, can also determine the fish’s location.
According to CEFAS, scientists are using the tags to build a portrait of fish behavior, including when, where and how often they eat. They believe this information could improve understanding of fish stocks and the abundance of their food sources.
Funded by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the tags function by installing a magnet in the jaw of a fish, with a sensor that reads the changes in the magnetic field as it opens and closes its mouth.All Supply & Trade stories >
12 October, 2010