New digital imaging technologies are playing a role in the health and maintenance of Alaska’s wild seafood industries. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) has been testing a variety of cameras and recording devices that allow researchers to have clear pictures of the ocean floor.

The project began in 1999 as a way of monitoring scallop stocks. Previous attempts to visually record the sea floor ran into a variety of technical difficulties: lighting, battery life, and resolution were all obstacles to obtaining reliable visual data. The newest, most successful images (such as the one above) are produced using the new Prosilica GE1380C camera, which is able to capture sharply detailed, clear images with a minimum of disturbance to the environment. It is connected to a research vessel via a fiber optic cable, and can photograph at a distance of 1.2m from the ocean floor, while being towed at a rate of 5 to 8.5 kmh.

The ADFG hopes to use this new system to monitor the health and populations of ocean ecosystems in order to better care for and regulate commercial fishing activities, which account for at least ½ of Alaska’s export value and are keys to the Alaskan economy.

Source:  Retrieved 10/16/08.

New Technologies Allow for Clear Pictures of Ocean Floor
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