Fish-counting A.I. developed in N.S. may assist avert fish kills at hydro dams

Nova Scotia-based Innovasea says it has efficiently developed know-how to instantaneously detect and depend fish utilizing underwater cameras, imaging sonar and synthetic intelligence — know-how that would assist stop fish kills at hydroelectric dams.

The prototype was area examined this spring at a Nova Scotia Energy hydro dam exterior Kentville, N.S., the place it counted practically 900,000 fish throughout an upstream migration of gaspereau — a species of herring.

The aquatic know-how firm stories the factitious intelligence system was 95 per cent correct in comparison with guide counting finished to confirm outcomes.

“It is a new functionality that offers them much more knowledge, much more decision of knowledge and probably a lot extra deep insights as to how fish are transferring across the system.” mentioned Jean Quirion, Innovasea vice-president of analysis and improvement.

An optical digicam watched the fish ladder that helps fish get upstream previous the three.4-megawatt White Rock dam. One other digicam monitored the dam bypass that permits fish downstream.

Two imaging sonar gadgets had been positioned in an outlet canal from the fish ladder to find out if the fish had been transferring upstream or downstream. Machine studying allowed a pc to depend passing fish 24 hours a day with minute-by-minute knowledge on a cell app.

Jean Quirion is the vice-president of analysis and improvement at Innovasea. (CBC)

Instantaneous outcomes

“It makes insights that you just get from the info actionable as a result of they’re delivered in actual time, rapidly you recognize about them instantly and you’ve got a chance to do one thing about it,” Quirion mentioned from Innovasea’s Bedford workplace.

“All of us need fish populations to … thrive in our rivers programs whereas nonetheless producing clear hydropower vitality. I feel know-how like it will have a optimistic affect.”

4 years in the past, Nova Scotia Energy agreed to pay $50,000 right into a federal environmental damages fund for inflicting a big fish kill on the dam in 2017.

Innovasea fish digicam put in on the fish ladder on the Nova Scotia Energy White Rock hydro dam. (Innovasea)

Nova Scotia Energy mentioned it already takes steps to guard fish passage there. The corporate at present shuts down the White Rock dam through the spring migration.

“One of many methods the Innovasea examine knowledge may very well be used is to raised perceive the timing of migration of fish and assist us implement these kinds of mitigative measures,” firm spokesperson Jacqueline Foster mentioned in an emailed assertion.

The corporate didn’t present anybody to interview. Nova Scotia Energy didn’t deal with a written query asking if the info may allow White Rock to function safely when it will have in any other case needed to shut down.

AI laptop will inform the distinction between fish species

To additional validate the factitious intelligence (AI) know-how, an acoustic monitoring examine to watch the motion and behavior of fish tagged across the White Rock dam was undertaken within the spring. The tagging examine together with Acadia College is ongoing. The AI deployment will proceed through the fall downstream gaspereau run.

Innovasea is at present refining the subsequent era of its AI know-how to determine particular person species together with endangered species like Atlantic salmon.

“The information being collected will give us a greater image of what species, and what number of, are round our facility in actual time. We will use that knowledge to additional improve how the ability operates,” mentioned Foster.

AI know-how offered real-time fish counts to a cell app. It may exchange a lot slower guide fish counting. (Innovasea)

Why AI works on this case

AI know-how that depend on cameras are higher suited to slim areas like rivers and fish ladders than the ocean the place cameras can not see very far.

The repetitive nature of fish passage can also be fitted to machine studying, mentioned Jennifer LaPlante of the IBM Deep Sense ocean knowledge hub at Dalhousie College in Halifax. Deep Sense helped design the system.

“It must be proven repeated examples of the picture again and again for this laptop mannequin to really be taught in order that it understands what it is meant to search for. And as soon as that occurs then it will probably simply do it mechanically 24/7 for a number of cameras,” she mentioned.

Jennifer LaPlante is government director of IBM Deep Sense. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

“It is a nice instance. You’ve Nova Scotia Energy who’ve a necessity of monitoring and observing and watching. It is a very repeatable activity, but it surely’s very guide and time-consuming and basically a waste of sources. That is the place AI is nice. You may go and take a activity {that a} human does and automate it and make it far more environment friendly and efficient and cut back prices.”

The fish detection know-how developed by Innvoasea makes up about one-third of the $29 million Ocean Conscious undertaking funded via the federal Ocean Supercluster innovation fund. The Ocean Supercluster put in $13.74 million with $15.7 million coming from trade companions.

“it has been very thrilling for us,” says Quirion.

Karen Griggs

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