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FHF / Project: 901597

System for automatic weighing, counting and sorting of live cod (video)

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Thursday, November 24, 2022, 16:50 (GMT + 9)

Live storage of cod is an opportunity for the whitefish industry to extend its production over a larger part of the year and ensure stable access to raw materials to the market also out of season. In this project, the aim has been to develop a system for automatic weight estimation, counting and sorting of fish that can be used by this part of the industry.

An automatic system for weight estimation, counting and sorting of fish; from boat to cage, between cages and from cage to slaughterhouse, will both fulfill conditions set in a dispensation from the Directorate of Fisheries, as well as give the whitefish industry a general boost with regard to resource control, fish health and raw material quality. As of today, the status is that weight estimation, counting and sorting are carried out manually, with the margins of error this entails.

The main focus of the project was to develop a machine vision scanner that handles the challenges of weighing and counting live fish in the best possible way. This means that the system must work even if the fish are splashing and moving and that the capacity of the system handles the number of fish to be sent through. For the welfare of the fish, scanning must take as little time as possible so that the fish can quickly move on and down into the cage.

Through the EU project SMARTFISH H2020, a scanner is being developed, which has so far produced good test results. It has been tested i.a. on cod and pollock. | Video: Dr. Mark Fisher (University of East Anglia) made a short video presenting an overview of the article “Motion Stereo at Sea”.  

The system that was developed consists of a closed metal slide where the fish is imaged in 3D as it slides past. Input and output from the slide are connected to the same type of pipe that is already used for moving between boat to cage and cage to cage. Each fish is registered by the camera, counted and weight estimated in real time, so that the user receives feedback on weight and number while driving. All data is stored and can be retrieved afterwards.

Image: FHF/ Melbu System

FHF's assessment is that it is positive that the equipment has been shown to function in relation to the requirements specifications, while at the same time some more full-scale testing may be necessary to ensure optimal performance and user-friendliness. The automatic system for weight estimation, counting and sorting of fish can be of great benefit to those engaged in live storage of cod. Furthermore, the technology can be transferable to vessels engaged in live capture, and closure of net sei. The technology can also be assessed in relation to future requirements for resource control on board boats. 

The project's owner is Melbu Systems, which is also responsible for building the prototype and further development after the project's end. The project was led by Egga Utvikling, while SINTEF Ocean has assisted with software development and Nofima has assessed the system's suitability in terms of fish welfare and quality. Gunnar Klo is involved in the project as an end user and has made cages and live-stored cod available for testing and trialling the system.

Source: FHF / Project: 901597

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