New Tech to Transform Bycatch Monitoring

Combining hard-earned fishing knowledge with cutting-edge machine intelligence, Insight360 is an innovative new tool being developed with fishermen in Cornwall which could radically transform how bycatch of marine wildlife is documented onboard fishing vessels and, ultimately, prevent it happening in the first place.

Refined with the fishing industry

Funded by Defra and led by Cefas, Insight360 is an intuitive and cost-effective tool designed to help fishers monitor potential incidents of marine wildlife bycatch in their fisheries. Specifically, the tool aims to support better monitoring of dolphin and porpoise populations, and better understanding of their interactions with fishing vessels. Due to the complex environment in which fishing takes place, on rare occasions these interactions can result in bycatch. Distressing and damaging for both animals and fishermen, minimising bycatch is necessary to achieve truly sustainable fisheries.

Being developed with commercial fishermen to do just this, Insight360 fuses the insights of the fishing industry with machine learning to offer a transformative approach to bycatch monitoring. In a UK-first, the technology combines voice recognition and video information to deliver real-time insight and create a 360-degree view of what’s happening at sea during a bycatch event. Continuously improving over time, Insight360 removes the need to manually review and add notes to footage, and offers instead a way for skippers and crews to train a monitoring system to automatically recognise and record bycatch events as they happen.

Practical, simple, affordable

Insight360 can log vessel location and automatically record the haul. Onboard microphones capture the observations of the skipper and crew ‘hands-free’ – meaning those onboard can speak directly to the system and describe an event without interrupting their work. A speech to text engine transcribes these notes, and pairs this transcribed voice data with targeted snippets of video to provide a 360-degree view of the event. This is then sent back to the Insight360 team onshore for analysis, offering new insights into bycatch.

Due for completion in Autumn 2024, Insight360’s Beta system is currently being trialled with fishermen working off the South West of England. Involved in Insight360 from the start, these fishermen work closely with the Insight360 engineering team on the quayside to ensure the tech fits the practicalities of being at sea and working on board a fishing vessel. The technology used is simple and affordable. Insight360 combines pre-existing components in a new way, to offer a step-change in bycatch monitoring, and unlock new capabilities for fishermen to share their story at sea.

Stay tuned for updates!


Image credit: Laurence Hartwell

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