Aquaculture North America

Freshwater Institute’s mortality monitoring device finalist for international tech challenge

April 25, 2023
By Maryam Farag

A real-time fish mortality detection system developed by The Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute is one of five entries chosen from 47 proposals for this year’s NewTechAqua Award Challenge.

NewTechAqua, based in Belgium, aims to demonstrate that investment in sustainable aquaculture research and innovation creates new value chains, markets, growth and jobs in coastal, offshore and landlocked areas. The NewTechAqua Award Challenge advances solutions to challenges limiting economic, environmental, and social benefits and impacts in aquaculture.

This was the first year Freshwater Institute (FI) applied to be considered as part of the award challenge and is the only winner from the United States. 

Called the MortCam by FI’s Precision Aquaculture team, the device was developed using artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT). It is deployed in a fish tank to provide round-the-clock mortality monitoring. It can trigger an alarm when mortality thresholds are exceeded.

“MortCam consists of an imaging sensor integrated with an edge computing device customized for underwater applications,” said FI research scientist and Precision Aquaculture team leader, Rakesh Ranjan. “Images acquired are used to train and optimize a machine learning model for resource-constrained edge devices with limited computation capability to detect and count dead fish accumulated near the drain plate.”

The model is deployed on the MortCam to log the mortality data at a user-defined frequency. The system generates email and text alerts to notify operators of mortality events. “In this way, real-time mortality alerts may aid in proactively initiating procedures to prevent potential additional mortalities,” Ranjan said.

Print this page