Artificial Intelligence: AI To Log Fishing Effort In Oregon

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The Environmental Defense Fund’s new platform uses smart cameras and artificial intelligence to get a handle on fishing activity.

How do you estimate and account for how much fishing – recreational or commercial – is actually going on in your friendly neighborhood ocean? That information is central to measuring catch and ultimately, the sustainability of the fish and marine life. The EDF launched today its SmartPass fishery monitoring system that combines the use of shore-based cameras, AI, and automated image analysis to monitor fishing effort. (Portland Local News)

Fishing in Oregon

EDF and its partners — Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), CVision AI, Teem Fish Monitoring and Snap IT — developed SmartPass over the last two years.

According to the EDF, recreational fishing attracted 8.6 million anglers in 2017. It generated $73.8 billion in sales, $41.5 billion in value-added impacts, and $24.7 billion in income. Furthermore, it supported 487,000 jobs in the United States.

“SmartPass aims to bring new technology to an old challenge. How to accurately account for the level of recreational and commercial fishing in the ocean,” said Sepp Haukebo, senior manager of Recreational Fisheries Solutions for EDF. “SmartPass applies technological advancements, such as machine learning, that have been applied across numerous other fields of study to improve fishery management cost-effectively.”

How it works

The surveyors strategically mount the smart cameras on the shore. They overlook a coastal bottleneck such as a “pass,” river mouth, or harbor, through which fishing vessels must pass.

The SmartPass approach captures, records, and stores video of these vessels. It uploads the data to the cloud where machine learning algorithms generate reports of fishing activity.

Thereafter, this data is combined with the average catch per vessel determined by shore-based interviews of returning vessels. The result gives the officials a fair idea of the total fishing catch.

Recreation and conservation

“The more accurate and efficient we can be with our ocean counts of recreational boat trips, the better we can manage the fisheries for recreational anglers and conservation needs,” said Eric Schindler, the project leader of the Ocean Sampling Project for ODFW. “We are very hopeful that SmartPass will provide us an accurate count of boats going out so we can focus more of our staff time on interviewing anglers dockside to get an average catch per boat and other biological data needed for fish management.”

Related Story:  The Norwegian AI Lab Helps Salmon Aquaculture

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