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 expertise to instantaneously detect and rely fish utilizing underwater cameras, imaging sonar and synthetic intelligence — expertise that would assist forestall fish kills at hydroelectric dams.

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

The aquatic expertise firm reviews the factitious intelligence system was 95 per cent correct when put next with guide counting performed to confirm outcomes.

“This can be a new functionality that provides them much more information, much more decision of knowledge and doubtlessly a lot extra deep insights as to how fish are transferring across the system.” stated Jean Quirion, Innovasea vice-president of analysis and growth.

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 units 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 rely passing fish 24 hours a day with minute-by-minute information on a cell app.

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

On the spot outcomes

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

“All of us need fish populations to … thrive in our rivers programs whereas nonetheless producing clear hydropower power. I believe expertise like this can have a constructive impression.”

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 stated it already takes steps to guard fish passage there. The corporate presently shuts down the White Rock dam throughout the spring migration.

“One of many methods the Innovasea examine information could possibly be used is to raised perceive the timing of migration of fish and assist us implement a majority of these mitigative measures,” firm spokesperson Jacqueline Foster stated in an emailed assertion.

The corporate didn’t present anybody to interview. Nova Scotia Energy didn’t tackle a written query asking if the information 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) expertise, an acoustic monitoring examine to observe 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 throughout the fall downstream gaspereau run.

Innovasea is presently refining the following technology of its AI expertise to establish particular person species together with endangered species like Atlantic salmon.

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

AI expertise 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 expertise that depend on cameras are higher suited to slender 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, stated Jennifer LaPlante of the IBM Deep Sense ocean information 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 truly study in order that it understands what it is meant to search for. And as soon as that occurs then it may well simply do it routinely 24/7 for a number of cameras,” she stated.

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

“This can be a nice instance. You might have Nova Scotia Energy who’ve a necessity of monitoring and observing and watching. It is a very repeatable process, but it surely’s very guide and time-consuming and primarily a waste of assets. That is the place AI is nice. You’ll be able to go and take a process {that a} human does and automate it and make it far more environment friendly and efficient and scale back prices.”

The fish detection expertise developed by Innvoasea makes up about one-third of the $29 million Ocean Conscious challenge funded by means of 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.

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