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Improving prawn feeding efficiency

AUSTRALIA - Researchers in CSIROs Tasmanian ICT Centre are developing automated image sensors and software to assist the prawn aquaculture industry and improve feeding efficiency.

CSIRO is developing automated submersible sensors that can accurately measure the feed consumed by prawns.

The industry uses a variety of methods for measuring feed consumption, all of them manual and labour intensive. These estimates of consumption are used to decide how much feed should be given at the next feeding.

The two major inputs into prawn farming in Australia are feed pellets and labour. The efficiency of the industry can be improved by reducing these costs.

Sensors that provide continuous information about feed consumption in prawn ponds will:

  • reduce overfeeding of farmed prawns
  • reduce nutrient levels in farm effluent, reducing the environmental impact of prawn farming
  • provide better information on the feeding efficiency of farmed prawns
  • improve the health of farmed prawns and reduce the use of antibiotics in countries that permit their use (antibiotics are not used routinely in Australian aquaculture)
  • enable better selection of brood stock for breed engineering.
The submersible sensor contains a digital camera that records images of a feeding surface. The images are processed by computer. Advanced processing algorithms are being developed that can extract information from the images.