Optical Delousing (Optical Sea Lice Treatment)
Optical delousing (Optical Sea Lice Treatment) is a concept within the aquaculture industry that has developed from an amazing idea to a concrete reality. By using camera vision, advanced software and laser, we can remove individual sea louse from the fish in a gentle and efficient way. While other methods are largely reactive and used as response to high numbers of lice, optical delousing offers a preventive and sustainable alternative. The goal is to perform continuous delousing in order to keep the number of lice down, so that fish farmers avoid carrying out demanding and inexpedient operations.
The animation illustrates how to install and operate a Stingray node in a net pen. It is docked in the buoy during transport out of and into the sea, so that cleaning and transportation can be carried out in a safe and efficient manner.
Once the unit is placed in the pen, it is easily secured with its own cable that is fastened in advance. The buoy is moved along the cable across the pen (horizontal positioning). It has a built-in winch with which the node is lowered to the desired depth (vertical positioning). Thrusters can rotate the unit around its own axis and enable an optimal placement of each node in relation to local swimming patterns.
The Stingray is created to facilitate easy handling and operations without danger to either crew or equipment. We recommend installing two units, each with its own buoy, in a large net pen (157 m or equivalent). This is to ensure that both the right and left side of the fish are treated. The units are placed at different depths in order to double the capacity of the installed system.
Installation of two units in one pen, with communication systems and associated control devices, can be completed in a day in most locations. The unit should be cleaned with a water jet every 2nd and 3rd week during the summer half of the year and less frequently in the rest of the year.
After months of testing in small, experimental net pens and at commercial fish farms with large pens, the fish appears untroubled by the equipment only a few hours after installation. Optical delousing takes place while the salmon is swimming in its natural habitat, and does not require forcing or moving the fish.
A number of fish welfare experiments indicate that optical delousing causes less damage than human handling of the fish. Eye protection that overrides the laser is installed in the software to avoid that it comes into contact with the eyes. We expect to see an improvement in overall fish health by using optical delousing compared to other methods.
Elousing For The Future
Stingray's optical delousing is the result of years of research and development in a number of advanced subject areas and disciplines. Our patented method and technology are based on, among other things, the knowledge and experience we have gained from 10-15 years of deliveries to the oil industry.
Our strong partners in this project are another great advantage. They provide valuable input during the process and contribute to training in fish health and fish farming issues. In this way we ensure that the equipment we develop is adapted to the life of the fish farmer, leads to the best possible HSE, gentle and environmentally friendly delousing, and not least - that it gives our customers long-term economic benefits.
The unit - the Stingray node - is made from solid materials and is designed to take humans, fish and the ocean environment into account. It has a low power consumption and an expected lifespan of four years.
The node is less than 1.50 meters high and has a dry weight of around 150 kg. While in the water the unit weighs about 20 kg. The buoy that controls the position of the unit weighs just over 100 kg.
Communications, electricity and data are sent between the unit and the buoy through a custom-made and durable high-capacity cable. This leads to good operational reliability and minimal handling, as well as efficient and safe data acquisition.
We are already working on developing new services for the high-tech platform, so that fish farmers can use the Stingray node for more than optical delousing. This will lead to fewer installations of different types of equipment in the pens, and provide our customers with a better overview and regular reports.