Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles

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3.6 kg (8 lb) Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Travels to 227 m (745 ft) to Observe Fish

VideoRay LLC announced today that the Government of Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, used the VideoRay to investigate a massive kill of Atlantic Cod in Smith Sound, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland. Over a period of approximately three weeks in April 2003, at least 600 metric tons of cod were killed from exposure to super-cooled (-1.4 to -1.7 C) water. To investigate the extent of the fish-kill, the 3.6 kg (8 lb) submersible VideoRay on 260 meters (850 ft) of tether traveled to depths and in temperatures impossible for divers.

To determine the extent of dead cod on the bottom, a crew from Fisheries and Oceans Canada exceeded the recommended 500-foot depth rating for the VideoRay and deployed the ROV to 227 meters (745 feet) in temperatures to -1.7 C. During the investigation, an aggregation of live cod was detected by echo sounder in a depth of approximately 200 meters. The crew deployed the VideoRay in an attempt to determine the condition of the fish, gathering remarkable video.

“ We have found the VideoRay ROV to be a very useful tool in our fisheries research,” says John Wheeler, a Research Biologist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, who reports the data can be used to estimate the density of fish in the aggregation and the biomass of the aggregation. “The fish were densely aggregated and were not affected by the ROV. In fact, the ROV pushed fish out of the way as it moved throughout the aggregation.”

According to Wheeler, most of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ research involves pelagic species, primarily capelin (Mallotus villosus) and Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus). During the summer of 2002, Wheeler used the ROV to observe the spawning behavior of capelin in Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, in depths of 15 to 25 meters. Previously, Wheeler had used a scientific echo sounder to determine the presence of capelin and estimate their abundance. The VideoRay allowed Wheeler to observe the fish visually during spawning and to delineate the extent of spawning beds. The VideoRay also observed a humpback whale that was feeding on capelin in the survey area.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada purchased its VideoRay ROV from Dasco Equipment Inc. in March 2002. They chose the VideoRay after hearing referrals from other researchers and because they required a small ROV to operate from their 8 m research boat, Narry Face, in coastal Newfoundland waters.

“We are pleased Fisheries and Oceans Canada was able to accomplish its research goals, yet we caution our customers not to exceed the 500 foot depth rating of the VideoRay,” says Scott Bentley, president of VideoRay.