Tuna species discrimination: THE FUTURE IS NOW

Due to the new sustainability challenges that arise in the near future in the fishing sector, especially with regard to Goal 14 (Life Underwater) of the SDGs, in the tuna sector it will be essential to have the ability to discriminate between the different species of tuna in operation prior to fishing. At Zunibal we have used the experience of its PreCatch system to launch a satellite drifting buoy with state-of-the-art design, capacity and technologies.

The PreCatch system is capable of performing vertical soundings over the FAD at all three science frequencies: 50, 120, and 200 kHz, sounding at 7 pings per second. All the information generated is transferred to the ship by radio and in real time, providing the raw data. Analyzing this scientific and massive acoustic data, we have managed to overcome the main challenge: species discrimination.

For years Zunibal’s scientific team has collected a massive amount of data. The first fruits of this work have been the well-known Artificial Intelligence tools, capable of generating maps with fishing recommendations and algorithms that determine the probability of fishing for tuna under a FAD, among others. These tools allow a more efficient operation helping the skipper to make decisions about which route to prioritize when fishing. Thus, it is possible to improve the ratio of tons caught per nautical mile and make fishing a more efficient and sustainable art, reducing the carbon footprint.

Now, with the learning through the Precatch system in the discrimination of species, we have created a satellite drifting buoy, equipped with the three scientific frequencies and with data processing.

This buoy, which will be available soon, sounds the same volume of water with three different transducers and at the same time, one for each frequency. This information is compared and processed in the smart buoy itself, which then communicates the result via satellite, which will be displayed on the ship’s interface.

The objective of this development, in addition to having obtained the best solution for a market where new challenges can be uncertain, is to transfer all this learning to all our buoys, which will improve their discrimination capabilities, and will be able to offer the market a known solution, reliable and technologically more advanced than ever.