Title: Robofeeder an
automated feeding for unmanned
offshore fish cages PI: Clifford
need to cost-effectively feed caged fish in the offshore
environment has constrained the growth of offshore
aquaculture. The Center for Fisheries Engineering Research
(CFER) has developed an automated feeding system that
is currently being tested at two offshore sites.
and below) The Robofeeder off the coast of Mississippi
project is being funded by NOAA, through the University of New
Hampshire Open Ocean Aquaculture project. One Robofeeder system
has been installed on a flat-fish cage off the New Hampshire
coast near the Isles of Shoals.
A second unit has been installed on a 600 cubic meter Sea
in collaboration with the Gulf of Mexico Offshore Aquaculture Consortium
(OAC). The OAC site is 22 miles off the coast of Mississippi
and is being managed
by researchers at the University of Southern Mississippi.
The OAC cage is unique not simply because of its use of Robofeeder, but also
because it is held in position by a single point mooring (SPM) rather than multiple
opposing anchors, typical of floating cages. Both the RoboFeeder and SPM system
were designed by Cliff Goudey, project director at CFER.
Chevron is cooperating in the OAC project and because of the proximity of one
of their production platforms, real-time monitoring of the cage has been made
possible. The camera is mounted on the platform and project personnel can control
it from shore. It has proven useful in the timing of routine service trips to
the cage and in providing 24 hour security.
The Robofeeder units on both of these research cages have capacities of 500 pounds
and can dispense controlled amounts of pelletized feed up to 24 times a day.
The system can survive submersion and planned modifications will allow feeding
operation to continue even during extended periods of submergence.