Thursday, September 21, 2023

Underwater drones protecting NT aquaculture industry

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Nicole Manison, NT Minister for Agribusiness and Aquaculture, Paul Kirby NT Minister for Recreational Fishing, Joint Media Release, 11 November 2021

A high-tech underwater drone is helping protect our iconic Territory fish and marine life from harmful aquatic pests.

Underwater robot
Stock photo: Sven Bachstroem

The cutting-edge remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) takes monitoring to the next level, reducing the need for divers and providing a mobile camera capable of scanning large areas in limited time.

This equipment can be manoeuvred to most locations. It also supplies real-time footage to help with the identification of invasive species.

Researchers have also used the ROV last month to monitor the development of our hugely successful artificial reefs and check them for marine pests.

The drone will assist with biosecurity inspections of Darwin Harbour that occurs next month and has the potential to detect aquatic pest species on boat hulls, with a recent trial conducted at Cullen Bay.

It can also be used around marine infrastructure such as wharf pylons around Stokes Hill Wharf and Fort Hill Wharf, to check for aquatic pests in Darwin Harbour.

Quotes from Minister for Agribusiness and Aquaculture

“The Territory’s commercial fishing and aquaculture industries inject $136 million into the economy each year, creating over 900 jobs.

“Just this year we have had satellites helping with our mango harvest, we opened a world-class Molecular Lab and now we have an underwater drone protecting our Territory marine life.

 “We have some of the best, well-managed fisheries in the world and we are renowned for the quality of our seafood – this innovative approach is another way to minimise the risks of biosecurity threats in our pristine Territory waters.”

Quotes from Minister for Recreational Fishing

“Recreational fishing is a key part of the Territory lifestyle, attracting thousands of visitors to the Territory and creating hundreds of jobs for Territorians.”

“We know our artificial reefs are going swimmingly across the Top End and this underwater drone is another way we are helping protect some of our iconic species of fish.”

For more information about biosecurity or artificial reefs, head to: 


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