World-First Robotic Technology a Game Changer for Aquaculture Industry

Press Release Aug 04, 2023

Huon Aquaculture has joined forces with local tech business, Southern Ocean Subsea (SOSub), to launch a ground-breaking underwater robotic stitching tool that is set to revolutionise the aquaculture industry worldwide.

Developed by SOSub and tested extensively on Huon’s marine farms, this world-first technology employs state-of-the-art remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROV) to repair fish farming nets. This ROV net repairer has an international patent. The innovative stitching tool enables accurate and efficient repairs to be carried out while the nets remain underwater. 

Huon Aquaculture’s Subsea Development Manager, Dr Shae Cameron, has been involved in extensive trials of the new technology and sees it as a gamechanger for the aquaculture industry. 

“For the aquaculture industry the holy grail is net repair. Traditional net repairs often necessitate bringing the nets to the surface or deploying a dive team to fix, leading to time consuming disruptions in operations. However, the advent of underwater robotic stitching eliminates the need for net removal, enabling the repairs to be conducted in situ and freeing up the divers to work elsewhere.” 

“Underwater robotic stitching offers numerous advantages for the aquaculture industry. The precise and durable repairs, made by the robotic technology, also enhances the longevity of the nets promoting sustainable aquaculture practices.”

“We recognise that it might not be able to replace a diver on all net repairs, but it can reduce the number of holes that need a diver’s attention.” 

Equipped with SOSub’s cutting edge ROV’s, the remotely operated underwater vehicles are piloted by land-based operators who utilise cameras to identify breakages in the nets and conduct repairs. The ROVs can travel faster than divers and operate at depths well beyond human limitations, reaching depths of up to 300 metres. They are also designed to thrive in murkier conditions and stronger currents, ensuring optimal performance even in challenging environments. 

SOSub co-founder, Kelsey Treloar, says the innovative technology represents a significant step forward for the aquaculture industry. 

“The capability of the ROV’s to work in deeper waters and in harsher conditions will support the growth of the aquaculture industry. As the underwater robotic stitching technology continues to evolve, ongoing efforts are being made to optimise stitching techniques and enhance the efficiency of the ROV’s.” 

Huon Aquaculture and SOSub believe that this ground-breaking technology will revolutionise net repair practices in the aquaculture industry, driving operational efficiency and promoting the long-term viability of sustainable aquaculture practices.

Click here to watch footage of the ROV with the new net stitching tool in action.

Huon Aquaculture is based in Tasmania and is Australia’s second largest producer of Atlantic Salmon and also farms and processes Rainbow Trout. Huon Aquaculture is a leader in the Tasmanian marine farming industry with a focus on sustainable, high-quality products and innovative, world-leading aquaculture practices.