Giant robotic cages may one day roam the seas as future fish farms

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Washington, August 19 (ANI): If scientists have their way, giant robotic cages may one day roam the seas as future fish farms, which could help produce greener, healthier, and more numerous fish.

According to a report in National Geographic News, scientists propose that in the future, giant, autonomous fish farms may whir through the open ocean, mimicking the movements of wild schools or even allowing fish to forage "free range" before capturing them once again.

Such motorized cages could help produce greener, healthier, and more numerous fish, just when humans need them the most.

The world's growing population is devouring seafood as quickly as it can be caught and has seriously depleted the world's wild fish stocks, warn experts.

Traditional fish farms typically consist of cages submerged in shallow, calm waters near shore, where they are protected from the weather and easily accessible for feeding and maintenance.

But, raising fish in such close quarters can contribute to the spread of disease among the animals, and wastes may foul the waters.

Cages must be moved to keep the waters clean and the fish healthy.

Deepwater cages offer cleaner, more freely circulating ocean water and natural food, which can yield tastier fish.

But, the deep-sea cages must be built to withstand the rigors of the deep ocean. And because they are harder for humans to access, "smarter," self-sufficient cages could be key.

That's one reason that Cliff Goudey, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Offshore Aquaculture Engineering Center, is building cages that can move under their own power.

Goudey has equipped an Aquapod cage, produced by Maine-based Ocean Farm Technologies, with a pair of 2.4-meter (8-foot) diameter propellers, which can be steered easily by controllers on a boat to which the cage is tethered.

Aquapods are composed of triangular panels covered with vinyl-coated, galvanized steel netting and come in sizes from 8 to 28 meters in diameter (26 to 92 feet in diameter).

Goudey's technology gives fish farmers a way to rotate cage locations without towing cages behind boats.

Someday such automated cages could herald an entirely new form of fish farming.

They might be turned loose to mimic natural systems by following carefully chosen ocean currents.

The robotic fish farms could help lead to larger, healthier crops of farmed fish far from crowded coastal areas, where farmed fish both suffer from poor water quality and, by producing waste, add to water woes.

Cages might even generate their own electricity by harnessing solar energy, wave energy, or other forms of renewable power. (ANI)

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