A Norwegian technology firm has developed a new hydro-acoustic system called CageEye, which uses sonar technology to observe fish behaviour and allow for optimal feeding processes. The system monitors the noises generated during fish feeding, so a reduction in noise is used as an indicator of reduced fish appetites as they swim away from the feed.

CageEye is positioned as a more efficient replacement for current video camera pellet detection systems which are often deemed inaccurate due to visibility issues leading to pellet misclassifications and wastage.

If CageEye is successful, then the audio data collected over time, in combination with water temperature and oxygen level data can be used to predict fish behaviour and allow for fully automated feeding systems.

Economic and environmental benefits

According to the company, leveraging  AI in this way could save Norwegian fish farms 1bn Krone ($165.5m) a year in reduced pellet wastage.

Nevertheless, lower fish production costs will likely lead to consumer benefits in the form of lower priced fish products, hence the technology is likely to be well received; this is evident in GlobalData’s 2016 research, given that a third of consumers globally say that price is the biggest influencer of purchase when buying food.

In addition to economic benefits, the technology also has environmental benefits, given that wastage is reduced. Depending on the aims of the fish farming companies, the cost savings associated with CageEye may also be invested in schemes to further support sustainability objectives.

Climate change is another major factor that will increase the importance of technologies such as CageEye. The average temperature of the world’s oceans is increasing and this disrupts fish growth and behaviour. CageEye’s technology monitors and predicts environmental conditions, providing fish producers with more information on the future impact of climate change on fish production, hence allowing producers to make more informed decisions.

As with any disruptive innovations, initial uptake of this technology will be slow due to high short-term expenses and uncertainty surrounding its effectiveness. However, if CageEye can demonstrate its success in Norway in terms of long-term operational efficiency and reduced costs, it is inevitable that this technology will draw the attention of overseas fisheries looking to stay competitive in the market, in terms of both price and productivity.