Project Title: Robofeeder – an automated feeding for unmanned
offshore fish cages

PI: Clifford Goudey, MIT

Project Summary: The 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.
 
 


(above and below) The Robofeeder off the coast of Mississippi

 
 
The 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 Station™ cage 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.


For more information on the GoM OAC please visit their Web site at:
http://www-org.usm.edu/~ooa/index.htm

For more information on the UNH OOA project, please visit: http://ooa.unh.edu/

Sea Station™ is a trademark of Ocean Spar Technologies, LLC. For more information on this and other innovative aquaculture cages visit: http://www.oceanspar.com/