Novel Sensors for Fish Health & Welfare

The coastal ocean is a challenging environment for aquaculture. Beyond obvious weather-related risks to infrastructure and worker safety, there are biological risks to cultured fish in two main areas:

  • oceanographic and climate challenges to fish physiology and welfare
  • presence of pathogens, harmful microalgae and other organisms that affect fish health.

Working with Nova Scotia-based Vemco Amirix and New Brunswick-based Cooke Aquaculture, researchers will combine novel sensors to bring new standards to in-water sensing applied to the welfare and management of farmed fish. Oceanographic sensors provide a framework in understanding the farm environment and forecast/model conditions as they relate to fish behaviour and the pathogen field in ambient waters.

Research benefits:

  • provide real-time data on oxygen and temperature levels from multiple cages at fish farming sites, using wireless, networked systems
  • develop software delivery systems for cage sensors, specific to farm management needs
  • develop protocols for data assimilation and modelling to enhance forecasting of oxygen/temperature level data
  • establish an array of fish acoustic tags and cage sensors to quantify 3D fish and cage position, and its relationship to environmental conditions
  • determine relationships between oceanographic conditions, pathogen occurrence and fish response/behaviour
  • produce metagenomics profiles of pathogens, pests, and harmful algae at fish farms and surrounding waters

Principal investigator:

  • Jon Grant, Dalhousie University