The Loughs Agency
The Loughs Agency is a cross-border organisation who aim to provide sustainable social, economic and environmental benefits through the effective conservation, management, promotion and development of the fisheries and marine resources of the Foyle and Carlingford Areas.
Problem to be Solved
In an effort to increase the population of native oysters in Lough Foyle, the Loughs Agency is embarking on a project to create a number of oyster tanks to protect a large number of oysters until they reach maturity, whereupon they can then be released into the lough. This project aims to maximise the oyster population in the lough, promoting sustainability and conservation.
For this project to be successful, the conditions in the tanks should be kept within certain ranges; this requires careful and continuous monitoring and adjustment of the conditions within each tank. Loughs Agency required a digital solution that could effectively track the oyster tanks and quickly alert officials to any environmental issues that could jeopardise the health and wellbeing of the oysters.
To meet the client needs, WiSAR researchers scoped out and developed an environmental monitoring system capable of monitoring salinity, temperature, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and UV light, which was then installed in a test location to ascertain the effectiveness.
The monitoring devices were connected to a communications module that transmitted the data to a webserver. The communications module was powered by energy efficient solar panels, to allow for continuous operation on the shore of the lough, eradicating the need to provide complexed mains power.
This solution allows for continuous data to be collated and presented in an easily understandable format, enabling Loughs Agency officials to check the conditions of each tank from any location, at any time.
Impact & benefits
With a remote monitoring solution in place the Loughs Agency can keep track of the conditions in the oyster tanks along the shore of the lough remotely, eradicating the need for frequent manual inspections. Additionally, alerts can be configured from the webserver that notify officials when specific conditions rise above or fall below certain pre-defined thresholds. This will allow Loughs Agency staff to quickly respond to changes in the environmental conditions that could pose a threat to the health and safety of the marine life.
In addition, the new remote monitoring system generates detailed digital records of oyster growth and maturity, coupled with records of the environmental conditions in the tanks.
Going forward the system will allow Loughs Agency staff to optimise oyster tank conditions for future growth and survival of the animals, maximising the effectiveness and increasing future yields through the lifecycle of this project.