Offshore aquaculture is considered a very dangerous and strenuous occupation. Subsea inspections are currently one of the most frequent aquaculture operations. A tear in a net can cause a farm to lose its fish stock which directly affects its bottom line.
Farms are sanctioned by regulatory agencies and insurance companies for fish escapes. Farms are also mandated to inspect their structures to minimise fish escapes, which threaten the wild fish ecosystem. The primary consequence is farmed fish transferring diseases and pathogens like sea lice, genetic impact because of interbreeding, and also competition for food.
To help solve this issue, remotely operated vehicles (ROV) can be utilised. ROV operations can help reduce human risk in offshore aquaculture operations and consequently lower an operator”s liability. ROV and diving operations will be compared addressing the main strengths and weaknesses of each.
A huge opportunity to make fish farming safer
Humans are not biologically engineered to spend long hours underwater, and ROV technology has been used for many years, but this technology is still in an early adoption phase, similar to where aerial drones were a decade ago. There is a huge opportunity to make fish farming safer and more efficient all at once. SeaDrone believes that mature hardware and connected software will begin to disrupt this industry. SeaDrone can help farm operators gather more holistic inspection data and pair it with intuitive analytics, which in turn will allow them to drive actionable results and lower their insurance costs.
Today, inspections are highly dependent on manual labour. A three-to-four man dive group with highly specialised diving equipment can be contracted by farms for up to £23,000 a day. On average they can cover eight fish pens per day. Dive groups need to have a professional diving licence and receive specialised training to comply with regulations given by the authorities. Hired commercial divers are often inexperienced in fish farming and often do not report critical information to farm managers, an issue ROV”s do not have.
Tools to replace divers
An advantage of using a diver is the degree of physical interaction that they can have with the environment. They can repair a net or mooring right away. Inspection ROVs are beginning to close the gap with some of these tasks. Small vehicles can be fitted with mort retrieval shovels to remove dead fish from farm nets and other specialised tools.
ROV systems are also typically easier to deploy and can stay underwater for longer than a diver, but in the past they have required significant skill to operate and were expensive to maintain.
SeaDrone Inspector is a powerful and affordable subsea robot, which simplifies underwater inspections. It has industrial grade construction, smooth manoeuvrability, and powerful lumen lights. Everything centres around a unified main electronic board meaning SeaDrone designed a vehicle that is leaner, more reliable and efficient, but also easier to maintain.
Some of the benefits of SeaDrone:
• Ease of use – Everyone can use SeaDrone, from beginners to pros. Patrol your facility with effortless and intuitive piloting
• Ultimate Control – Premium vectored thrusters keep you in control
• Deeper Dives – Hold your ground in two knot currents and dive deeper
• Robust Footage – Capture stable full HD footage with actuated camera stabilization
• Compact power – Highest thrust to drag and weight ratio of any vectored ROV in the market
• All-day operation – Exchangeable FAA approved batteries
• Symmetric drag profile – Hold you ground in crosscurrents
• Capture stable full HD footage – Actuated camera stabilization, Vehicle auto-heading and auto-depth
• Organised digital records – Photos and videos are stored directly on your tablet.
Seadrone puts the power of a better inspection experience back into customer”s hands. With tablet-controlled easy deploy and piloting, the commercial quality underwater drone makes collecting and storing HD inspection footage affordable and effortless for beginners to pros.
In conclusion, ROVs create a positive chain reaction against reduced risk and increased efficiency. They mitigate the human risk by taking over several diving operations. Operational efficiencies are also believed to increase, as an ROV is able to move faster than a diver in the water and can dive much deeper. ROVs are therefore a lower cost to operate, provide more data in minimal time, reduce human risk, and have unlimited diving time. SeaDrone has worked with farm managers and inspection companies to understand their needs and built an easy-to-use subsea inspection system specifically designed for the aquaculture industry.