The Fishing Activities Regulations allow fish to be kept in intermediate storage cages for up to 12 weeks before they must be slaughtered or transferred to aquaculture facilities. On 4 February 2019, exemptions for live storage for up to 20 weeks were included in the Regulations. Exemption must be applied for, and, upon approval, the applicant undertakes to meet conditions set for resource control and fish welfare.
Automatic systems for weight estimation, counting and sorting of fish – from boat to cage, between cages and from cages to slaughter – must both meet the conditions set forth in the exemption and give the whitefish industry a general boost in terms of resource control, fish health and raw material quality. At present, weight estimation, counting and sorting are performed manually, with the margins of error this entails.
In addition to implementation at intermediate storage facilities, the technology will be transferable to vessels that invest in live catches. The technology could also be transferred to other areas, such as seine closure and aquaculture, and, in this respect, potentially has a large scope.