September 22, 2022


Research finds use of echo sounders can reduce feed waste in aquaculture



Researchers from the Institute of Marine Research has found that the use echo sounders can reduce feed waste in aquaculture sector, Fish Information & Services reported.


Ocean researcher Ole Folkedal said they have now established that through the use of an automatic feeding control, it is possible to maximise fish growth while minimising feed waste. Additionally, both in winter and summer, it works with both small and large salmon.


He and his colleagues have been studying ways to use echo sounders to reduce feed waste in the farming industry for a number of years. The project was published in the academic journal Aquaculture.


The Echofeeding project's premise is that an echo sounder more effectively displays how many fish have gathered around the food and when the "meal" dissolves. The feeding then automatically stops.


The biomass, or number of fish, in a cage's feeding area is measured using sonar. Fish will swim to the area when it is feeding time and eat. The fish swim away once they are satisfied. As a result, there are fewer fish in the feeding area, and when the biomass reaches a certain minimum level, the meal automatically ends. Or, to put it another way, the researchers have predetermined that the meal will end when the quantity of fish at it falls to a specific level.


As a result, no feed is wasted and no fish are fed extra when they are already satisfied.


When fish move higher up in the water, where the feeding occurs, you can see it on the sonar.


It is not a new principle. It was first developed at the Institute of Marine Research's capture section in the early 1990s. But Folkedal said they have brought back this principle and used new software and hardware.


He said they delved deeper into the biological and technical requirements that must be met for it to function. Their article serves as a sort of user manual for the autonomous feeding of salmon. The findings are generally applicable to feeding strategy and feeding control.


The research was conducted at HI's Austevoll research facility. A total of 12,000 salmon were tested in three cages using the new feeding technique. The experiments were conducted on salmon weighing approximately 1kg in the summer and approximately 5.5kg in the winter.


-      Fish Information & Services

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