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Aker BioMarine brings big data to Antarctic krill fishery

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Aker BioMarine will use a solar-powered ocean data drone (Sailbuoy) to collect detailed data on the krill biomass as part of its operations in Antarctica to take a further step in a new data-driven era of sustainable fishery and fishery management.

Equipped with echosounder and environmental sensors, the two-meter long data drone collects, processes and transmits density and distribution data from wherever it is deployed, in real time. Easy to operate, launch and recover, the ocean drone uses wind for propulsion while electronics are powered by solar panels, which charge the internal batteries. The Sailbuoy can reach a speed of 2 knots. Built to be robust and to survive the tough Antarctic conditions, it has also been designed to be small and unobtrusive so that it does not disturb the local wildlife.

Minimizing the need for fishing vessels to spend time and resources looking for krill, the use of the ocean data drone significantly reduces the financial and environmental costs of searching for krill. All the data collection carried out by the drone has a carbon footprint of zero. Frank Grebstad, SVP Vessel Operations, said that “finally deployed, after a number of years in development, the Sailbuoy is changing how we work. We can position it close to the vessel and it will do the searching for us, or we can let it cover remote areas for up to months at a time, telling us where and when to proceed.”

In addition to operational gains, the data will benefit in the long-term to the wider scientific community and the krill fishery as whole. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources has made decisive steps towards a more dynamic and scientific data driven management regime, which will put a lot of responsibility on the industry’s capability to monitor the krill biomass.

Aker BioMarine will use a solar-powered ocean data drone (Sailbuoy) to collect detailed data on the krill biomass as part of its operations in the Antarctica to take a further step in a new data-driven era of sustainable fishery and fishery management.

Equipped with echosounder and environmental sensors, the two-meter long data drone collects, processes and transmits density and distribution data from wherever it is deployed, in real time. Easy to operate, launch and recover, the ocean drone uses wind for propulsion while the electronics is powered by solar panels, which charge the internal batteries. The Sailbuoy can reach a speed of 2 knots. Built to be robust and to survive the tough Antarctic conditions, it has also been designed to be small and unobtrusive, so that it does not disturb the local wildlife.

Minimizing the need for fishing vessels to spend time and resources looking for krill, the use of the ocean data drone significantly reduces the financial and environmental costs of searching for krill. All the data collection carried out by the drone has a carbon footprint of zero.

Frank Grebstad, SVP Vessel Operations said that “finally deployed, after a number of years in development, the Sailbuoy is changing how we work. We can position it close to the vessel and it will do the searching for us, or we can let it cover remote areas for up to months at a time, telling us where and when to proceed.”

In addition to operational gains, the data will be of enormous benefit in the long-term to the wider scientific community and the krill fishery as whole. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources has made decisive steps towards a more dynamic and scientific data driven management regime, which will put a lot of responsibility on the industry’s capability to monitor the krill biomass. The company said that the ocean data drone technology will enable the krill management regime of the future to come sooner rather than later.

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