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Advanced Sorting System Makes Debut

by Ellen Hardy
17 April 2008, at 1:00am

ONTARIO - State-of-the-art equipment to rapidly mark all hatchery reared trout and salmon stocked into Lake Ontario will make its provincial debut at the O.F.A.H./Toronto Sportsmen's Show Ringwood Fish Culture Station this week.

The portable equipment - known as the AutoFish system - will operate in Ontario under a cooperative arrangement with the State of New York, which began using the equipment two weeks ago, says a report in the BYM Marine and Environmental News

"This is a great opportunity to test leading-edge technology that could help manage our fisheries more effectively," said Donna Cansfield, Minister of Natural Resources. "We are pleased to support the hard work of the Ontario Federation of Hunters and Anglers, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the Metro East Anglers and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation on this initiative."

Minister Cansfield is expected to be at the event to observe this ground-breaking technology in operation.

Millions of fish are produced in federal, provincial, state, tribal and community hatcheries and are stocked into the Great Lakes to support species rehabilitation, and commercial and recreational fisheries. Historically, hatchery fish were marked by clipping one or more of the fins on a fish. More recently, near-microscopic tags with a numeric code (called a "coded-wire tag") have been inserted into the noses of individual fish. Fin clips and tags help fishery managers and the public distinguish between stocked fish and wild fish.

Advanced and Efficient

The AutoFish System uses advanced technology to sort and process Pacific salmon and steelhead in a hatchery or fish farm setting. It offers System is a cost effective way to handle juvenile fish rapidly without the use of anesthetic or human contact.

The AutoFish System was developed as an alternative to manual clipping and tagging to help government agencies meet their ambitious marking and tagging goals. The AutoFish SCT6 (sort, clip, tag, six processing lines) is a self-contained mobile unit that has one dual exit sorter and six individual processing lines. This complete system can sort, clip, and tag salmonids from 57 mm to 142 mm without the use of anesthetic and with no human handling.

View the BYM news story by clicking here.

Ellen Hardy