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Automation in Marine Larviculture

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2021 ASABE Annual International Virtual Meeting  2100522.(doi:10.13031/aim.202100522)
Authors:   Steven G Hall, Michael O Frinsko
Keywords:   Aquaculture, automated feeding, automation, live feed, mariculture, sustainability

Abstract. Aquaculture is the fastest growing protein sector in the world. Automation in aquaculture is growing concomitantly with this field. Pond and tank systems routinely monitor dissolved oxygen (DO), operate alarm systems (often linked to a cell phone) to alert farmers of impending issues. Marine aquaculture is growing and larviculture is a critical life stage. During the larval stage, carnivorous fish often feed on zooplankton. When this occurs in natural ponds or lagoons, predation and mortality are often high. With larval fish in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), live feed such as rotifers and artemia are typically raised and then dosed into the RAS systems, allowing a much higher survival rate. However, this can be both time consuming and round-the-clock work as larval fish often need feeding every few hours. Automated systems to feed live feeds (e.g. artemia) can reduce human labor and possible human error, improve dosing and customize feeding for particular species or life stages. A discussion of recent and ongoing advances in automated live feed systems will be provided, sharing automated dosing, rates, feedback to optimize feedings and other critical aspects of these systems, including graphical user interfaces (GUI) and other communication structures.

Ease of use is important for these systems to gain commercial success and contribute to this growing field. These systems can also enhance sustainability, reduce human error and improve safety outcomes. Further development in these fields is continuing, and lessons learned can also be useful when applied to adjacent fields including environmental, biomedical and agricultural engineering.

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