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Use of stereo camera systems for assessment of rockfish abundance in untrawlable areas and for recording pollock behavior during midwater trawls


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We describe the application of two types of stereo camera systems in fisheries research, including the design, calibration, analysis techniques, and precision of the data obtained with these systems. The first is a stereo video system deployed by using a quick-responding winch with a live feed to provide species- and size composition data adequate to produce acoustically based biomass estimates of rockfish. This system was tested on the eastern Bering Sea slope where rockfish were measured. Rockfish sizes were similar to those sampled with a bottom trawl and the relative error in multiple measurements of the same rockfish in multiple still-frame images was small. Measurement errors of up to 5.5% were found on a calibration target of known size. The second system consisted of a pair of still-image digital cameras mounted inside a midwater trawl. Processing of the stereo images allowed f ish length, fish orientation in relation to the camera platform, and relative distance of the fish to the trawl netting to be determined. The video system was useful for surveying fish in Alaska, but it could also be used broadly in other situations where it is difficult to obtain species-composition or size-composition information. Likewise, the still-image system could be used for fisheries research to obtain data on size, position, and orientation of fish.
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For moder n f i sher ies sto ck assess-
ments, fisheries-i ndep endent data
are necessary to estimate population
abu ndances and population trends.
For most marine species, f isheries-
independent abundance estimates are
primarily obtained from large -scale
multispecies bot tom trawl survey s
(e.g., Gunderson a nd Sample, 1980)
and from acoustic surveys of pelagic
fish stocks (e.g., Karp and Walters,
1994). Although acoustic backscatter
is used to measure fish abundance,
midwater trawl samples are needed
to det ermi ne the si ze and sp ecies
composition of acoustically sampled
fish populations. Both of these sur vey
methods requi re physical sampling
of trawl catches and such sampling
can result in unrepresentative data
in several ways.
Bottom-trawl surveys a re limit ed
to th e area s they ca n sa mple be -
cause many research trawls are not
constructed to ef ficiently sh over a
rough or rugose seafloor. Thus, sur-
veys with bottom trawls may not be
appropriate for some species with
affinities for untrawlable habitat or
in survey areas where sig n ific ant
patches of untrawlable ground can be
found (Zimmerman n, 2003; Cordue,
2007). In Alaska, semipelagic species
such as northern rockfish (Sebastes
polyspinis) and Pacific ocean perch (S.
alutus) are an important part of the
commercial catch, but they also show
some affinity for untrawlable areas
Use of stereo camera systems
for assessment of rockfish abundance
in untrawlable areas and for recording
pollock behavior during midwater trawls
Kresimir Williams (contact author)
Christopher N. Rooper
Rick Towler
Email address for contact author:
Alaska Fisheries Science Center
National Marine Fisheries Ser vice
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, Washington 98115
Manuscr ipt submitted 21 January 2010.
Manuscr ipt accepted 27 May 2010.
Fish. Bull. 108:352–362 (2010).
The views and opinions expressed
or implied in this article are those of the
author (or authors) and do not necessarily
reflect the position of the National Marine
Fisheries Service, NOAA.
Abst rac tWe des cr ibe the applica-
tion of two typ es of ster eo camera
systems in fisheries research, includ-
ing the de sig n, c al ibration, analysi s
techniques, and precision of the data
obtained with these systems. The first
is a stereo v ide o system deployed by
using a quick-responding winch with a
live feed to provide species- and size -
composition data adequate to produce
acoustically based biomass estimates
of rockfish. T his system was tested on
the easter n Bering Sea slope where
ro ck f ish were mea su red . Rockf ish
sizes were similar to those sampled
with a bottom trawl and the r elative
error in multiple measurements of the
same rockf ish in multiple stil l-frame
im a ges wa s s mal l . M eas ure ment
err ors of up to 5.5% were fou nd on a
cal ibration target of k nown size. The
sec ond syst em consist ed of a pair of
sti ll-image digit al ca meras mounted
inside a m idwater t rawl. Processing
of the st er eo ima ge s al lowed f is h
len gth, fis h orient at ion in relation
to the camera plat fo rm, and rel a-
tive d ist ance of the fish to the trawl
netting to be determined. The v ideo
system was useful for sur vey ing f ish
in Alaska, but it could also be used
broadly in other situat ions where it
is diff icult to obtain species-compo -
sit ion or size -compo sitio n infor ma -
tion. Likewise, the still-image system
cou ld be used for fisheries research
to obtain data on size, po sition, and
orientation of fish.
(Clausen and Heifetz, 2002; R ooper
et al., 2007).
In add ition, inferences from spe-
cies- and size- composition data ob-
ta i ned from trawl ca tch es can be
biased on account of trawl selectiv-
ity. Trawls are gener ally des igned
to capture larger, market-size fish,
an d their desi g n for this select ed
size results in the under-retention
of juven ile size classes. In acoustic
surveys of walleye pollock (Theragra
chalcogramma), biases in midwater
trawl catches directly translate into
biases in abunda nce estim at es for
areas where large and small sh are
found (Godo et al., 1998). Selective
retention of sh is a consequence of
size and spec ies-dependent fish be-
havior du ring the trawling process.
Observation of fish reactions to trawl
gear is critical to understanding the
behavioral mecha nisms resp onsible
for t rawl selectivity and to develop
future trawl gear for research.
Here, we describe the use of stereo
photography to sample rockfish in un-
trawlable habitats using a drop unit
with a stereo video camera (hereaf-
ter termed “video-drop” camera), and
to study fish behavior i n midwater
trawls using a trawl-mounted pair of
still-frame stereo cameras (hereafter,
termed “still-frame” camera). Stereo
cameras have been successfully used
to measure fish in controlled aquacul-
ture settings (Ruff et al., 1995 ; Har-
vey et al., 2003) and in open water
Williams et al.: Use of ster eo-camera systems i n assessing roc kfish abundance and pollock behavior
(i.e., van Rooij and Videler, 1996; Shortis et al., 2009).
The recent development of high-resolution digital cam-
eras has vastly improved the performance and reduced
the complexity of image-based sampling because high-
quality digital images can be directly analyzed with
image-processing software. In general, stereo methods
provide highly precise measurements in comparison to
single-camera–based photogrammetric methods (Har-
vey et al., 2002). However, these systems necessitate
maintaining a stable two-camera geometry and must be
initially calibrated with targets of known sizes. Despite
these constraints, stereo photography is widely used in
optical-based sampling in a variety of marine studies.
We demonstrate the precision of stereo-camera–based
measurements, attainable from initial deployments in
the field, in comparison with traditional survey mea-
surements. The results show that stereo-based optical
sampling is a viable method for augmenting bottom-
trawl data for abundance estimations; the stereo cam-
eras allow scientists to survey sampling areas that are
unavailable to standard survey trawl gear. In addition,
stereo cameras can be used t o observe a nd quantify
the behavior of fish in the process of being captured by
trawl gear to further improve estimates of abundance
Table 1
Design, manufacturer, and cost (approximate estimates in U.S. dollars) for drop stereo-video camera and still-frame stereo-
camera systems used for surveying untrawlable habitat and studying fish behavior in midwater research trawls. Both sys-
tems were used in the field in July 2008 and July 2007, respectively. HID =high-intensity discharge; LED=light-emitting diode;
UHMW = ultra high molecular weight plastic.
System Component Design Manufacturer Cost
Drop stereo- HID light HID Xenon lights, 12 V, 50 W Underwater Lights USA $814
video Video line driver Balanced line driver and transceiver Nitek $133
camera Conducting cable 4 conductor wire, 4.72 mm diameter Rochester Cable $1601
Sled frame Aluminum channel and tubing Local manufacture $2000
Winch and slip ring CSW-6 electronic win A.G.O. Environmental $11,268
Underwater housings 5ʺ diameter Local manufacture $729
Underwater housings Local manufacture $729
LED sync Ramsey Electronics $24
Underwater cable and Teledyne Impulse $614
Batteries 4 × 12 V 4 Ah NiMH Energy sales $396
Total video system cost $18,308
Still-frame Strobe Oceanic 3000 Oceanic $990
stereo Cameras Canon Digital Rebel Xt (8Mp) Canon USA $1100
camera Lenses Canon EF 28 mm f /2.8 Canon USA $450
Microcontroller & Local manufacture $150
Underwater housings 10ʺ floats, 1.5ʺ acrylic flat viewports Local manufacture $1400
and viewports
Mounting frame UHMW plastic and aluminium stock Local manufacture $350
Underwater connections Teledyne Impulse $650
Batteries 3 × 12 V 4 Ah NiMH Energy sales $297
Total still-frame system cost $ 5387
Software Matlab V 7.6 Mathworks
because they allow scientists to determine the potential
biases in trawl-based catch data.
Materials and methods
Sampling untrawlable are as with the
video -drop c amera syst em
The design of the video-drop system was based on two
key needs. Because rockfish are found in areas of high
relief, the camera needed to have adequate protection
for their electronic components and have the ability to
maintain visual contact with the bottom through rough
substrate areas. Therefore, essential to sampling with
this camera system was the ability to live-view the video
and the use of a quick-responding winch system that
could be controlled by the operator aboard the research
vessel. The specifications of the camera components are
presented in Table 1.
The w inch used t o deploy and retrieve the camera
system and navigate the seafloor was a CSW-6 multi-
purp ose w in (A.G.O. Environ mental, Nanaimo, BC,
Canada; Fig. 1 A). The winch motor was a 3/4 horse-
354 Fishery Bulletin 108(3)
winch cameras
Figure 1
Drop stereo-video camera system showing (A) the quick-responding winch, and (B) the locations of
cameras and lights i n the a luminum fra me. (C) The sti ll-frame camera system, which is deployed
in a m idwater trawl. (D) The camera housing s (shown) were con struc ted from deep-water trawl
floats which provided buoya ncy and reduc ed the weight of the cameras.
power Leeson wet-duty motor powered by 100 V AC.
The winch speed ranged from 43 m /min (with a bare
drum) to approximately 58 m/min (with a full drum).
The approximate square-in area of the winch was 48
in 2 (0.031 m2) and its weight was 155 lb (70. 3 kg).
The drum was 16 in (40.6 cm) in circum ference and
was filled w ith 1312 ft (40 0 m) of 3/16 -in (4.72-mm)
conducting wire. The wire had a breaking strength of
3300 lb (1497 kg) and was connected to the camera sled
with a cable-grip. The video feed from the cameras was
passed up a cable and through a fou r- conductor slip
ring mounted on the winch and routed into a junction
box where it was connected to a monitor for real-time
The protective cage around the camera and lights was
constructed of 1.5-in (3.81-cm) aluminum tubing, and
the interior members of the frame were composed of 6-
in (15.24-cm) aluminum channel (Fig. 1B). A tail chain
was attached to the rear of the ventral surface of the
cage to drag along the seafloor to help keep the camera
unit in contact with the seafloor and oriented forward
during deployment. The tail chain was connected to the
cage by a short piece of twine to act as a “weak link” in
case the tail chain snagged on the seafloor.
The underwater video was recorded by two identical
Sony T R-900 camcorders (Sony Electronics Inc., San
Diego, CA) located inside the camera housi ng s. The
cameras were capable of collecting 720 p progressive
scan video images at a resolution of 720
× 480 pixels.
The video was recorded to digita l v ideo tapes for a
max imum of one hour per tape. Because the cable was
too long (400 m) to transmit a standard video signal, it
was transformed by using a video balun (in the camera
housing) and a receiver (at the winch) to reconvert the
video signa l back to a v iewable picture of the seaf loor
to use for real-time navigation. Cameras were placed
in separat e housings constructed of titanium tubing
and that had a gla ss dome por t (pr essure -r at ed to
30 0 0 m depth) cover i ng the lens. The lens of eac h
camera was keyed to its port t o prevent the camera
fr om bei ng insert ed into the hou sing in a p osit ion
other than the exact keyed position and stabilized the
relative position of the camera s from deployment to
deploy ment an important consideration for accurate
Williams et al.: Use of ster eo-camera systems i n assessing roc kfish abundance and pollock behavior
measurement of target s ( Short is et al., 20 00). The
housings were mounted side by side on the aluminum
frame (Fig. 1B).
Illumi nation was provided by two lights mounted
above the camera housings inside the aluminum frame
(Fig. 1B). The lights were 50-watt high-intensity dis-
charge ( HID ) Xenon lig hts with 5300 lumen output
and 3900 Kelvin color temperature. The lights were
inserted into 3-in (7.62- cm) dia met er titaniu m hous-
ings and the entire light weighed 5 lb (2.27 kg). The
lights were powered by a battery located in the camera
housing and linked to the light housing by under water
connectors. Four rechargeable 4 A h 12 V nickel-metal
hydride batteries were connected in parallel to provide
approximately 1.5 hour of light per deployment. Each
light housing was mounted on an adjustable mount that
allowed even illumination of the target.
Obser ving fish behavior in a trawl
wit h t he still-frame system
The still-frame system was designed to be light and
small enough to be easily attached to the inside of a
survey trawl without significantly changing the fishing
activity of the net. The system also needed to provide
adequate illumination and resolution in order to allow
the sh inside the net to be observed at a range of up
to 6 m as they passed though a midwater survey trawl
40 m ahead of the codend. A pair of Canon Rebel Xt
8 megapixel digital single-lens reflex cameras (Canon
USA, Lake Success, NY ) were used to capture fish
images. Both cameras were outfitted with 4-gigabyte
compact flash memory cards for storage of the images.
A high-power wide-angle Xenon strobe (90°, 150 W/s)
was used to illuminate the field of view. Three 4-Ah 12
V batteries were mount ed in the strobe housing; two
were connected to the strobes and the third was used
to power the cameras.
The camer as were mounted in sepa rate hous ings
made from 10-in (25-cm) diameter deep-water–rated
(1800 m) trawl floats. Images were taken though a 25-
mm thick flat acrylic viewport. The strobe and batteries
were mounted in a thi rd oat housing (Fig. 1C). A ll
three float housings were secured on a sled constructed
of 25-m m thick plastic plate and alum inum rails for
protection. The approximate weight of the complete as-
sembly in air was 30 kg and was positively buoyant be-
cause of the float housings. Quick-release trigger snaps
were attached to the ends of the plastic mounting board
for attachment to the inside of the trawl. The cameras
were aimed across the trawl, perpendicular to the wa-
ter flow to provide lateral views of fish passing by. The
trigger on the camera shutter was controlled by using a
microprocessor that was programmed for the study and
that located in one of the camera housings. A two-axis
tilt sensor was attached to the microprocessor board to
allow measurements of sh tilt (deviation of snout-tail
axis from the horizontal) and yaw (angle of fish head-
ing in the horizontal plane) to be adjusted from being
relative to the camera platform to being in absolute
orientation. A pressure switch was used to activate the
system once the depth exceeded 20 meters. Images were
taken at intervals of 5 s to reduce the influence of light
on fish behavior and to ensure that a new group of fish
was observed in each frame. The system was capable
of taking about 400 images or operating for 33 min of
trawl time per deployment.
Calibration of the two t yp es of stereo cameras
The same calibration procedure was used for both stereo-
camera systems. The basic procedure required collecting
images of a target plate with a pr inted 10
× 10 square
checkerboard pattern of known dimensions (50
× 50 cm
squares for the video-drop system, 100
× 100 cm for the
still-frame syst em). T his calibration was performed
underwater. The video-drop system cage was suspended
in the water while the research vessel was secured to
the dock. The approximate depth of the camera was
1 m and the distance from the target was 2 m. The
checkerboard target was lowered into the water along
the vessel until it was plainly visible in both cameras.
The target was then slowly moved horizonta lly and
vertically through the field of v iew of both cameras.
Up to 15 min of calibration video was collected by this
method. For the still-frame system, an external trigger
cable was attached to the assembly, a nd t he system
slowly moved about while capturing images of the fixed
checkerboard plate.
To calibrate the video-drop system, progressive scan
video images were collected at 29.97 frames /s in each
camera, and the beg inning of the v ideo feed from each
camera was aligned by using a light-emitting diode
(LED) synchronization light at the beg inn ing of de-
ployment. This process was repeated at the end of the
deployment to confirm that the video frames were still
aligned. For the calibration procedure, still frame im-
ages were extracted from the aligned video at 1-s in-
tervals with Adobe Premier software (Adobe Systems,
Inc., San Jose, CA). Synchronization was not necessary
for the still-f rame system because the cameras were
triggered simultaneously. Approximately 20 paired im-
ages where the target checkerboard was visible in both
cameras were randomly selected for the calibration of
each camera system.
The calibration parameters were estimated with the
camera calibration toolbox in Matlab, a freely available
software analysis toolbox built with Matlab computing
lang uage (Mathworks, Inc.; Bouget, 2008; Fig. 2). For
each image pair, the position of the corner points of the
checkerboard pattern were identified by clicking on the
images and the location of these points in the still im-
ages was computed by the calibration software to deter-
mine the intrinsic parameters of each camera. Intrinsic
parameters were used to correct the individual images
for optical distortion resulting from the camera lenses.
The checkerboard pattern allowed the software to auto-
matically pinpoint exact corner locations based on the
color contrast of the squa re boundaries, making the
initial precision of the manual clicking less critical.
356 Fishery Bulletin 108(3)
1 m
1 m
Figure 2
The checkerboard patt ern used to calibrate and
test the drop stereo-video ca mera and the still-
fra me st ere o- ca mera systems. Image s use d for
cal ibration were pro cessed by u sin g the camera
calibration toolbox written for Matlab. A n image
taken by t he stil l-f rame st ereo- ca mera system
is shown with the user-selected extreme corners
shown as white circles and the automated extrac-
tion of all intermediate corners shown with white
cro sses. This proc edu re was repeated for up to
20 different image s with both systems.
Stereo calibration required that the checkerboard
corners be identified in the same order in each of the
synchronous image pair s to c or rectly match up the
analogous corner points. These points, once corrected
for optical distortion in individual cameras, were used
to compute the epipolar geometry, by iteratively solving
for the translation and rotation vectors that describe
the relationship between the coordinate systems of the
two cameras (Xu and Zhang, 1996). Once these matrices
were estimated by the software, the three-dimensional
position of a target point viewed in both cameras could
be determined by triangulation.
Fis h measur ements with the came ra
Fish lengths were measured by using stereo triangu-
lation functions supplied w ith the camera calibration
software package (Bouguet, 2008). For the video-drop
system, images were extracted from the two video feeds
at 1-s intervals. The images were synchronized at the
beginning of each transect before deploy ment by using
the LED synchronization light. The images were checked
at the end of each transect to confirm that the cameras
remained synchronized.
Length measurements were obta ined by identifying
the pixel coord inates of corresponding pixel locations
in the left and r ight camera still frames such as a
fish snout and tail (Fig. 3). T hese points were used
to solve for the three-dimensiona l coordinates of the
poi nts in the images by t riang ulation, by using the
ca libration-derived para meters. Once the three-d i-
mensional coordinates of the fish snout and tail were
obta ined, the leng th was measured as the simple Eu-
clidian distance between the points in real space. This
measurement method underestimated leng th for fish
whose bodies were curved; however; f ish in the video
and still camera were a lmost exclusively seen with
little or no curvature in their bod ies and the few indi-
viduals that were obviously strongly curved were not
measured. Length data were collected by using a basic
software application bu ilt with the Matlab computing
language (Fig. 4; available f rom the authors upon re-
quest), which incorporated the triangulation function
supplied by the calibration toolbox.
In addition to length measurements, the three-di-
mensional coordinates extracted from the still-frame
images provided data on the position and orientation
of walleye Pollock in relat ion to the trawl (Fig. 5).
These data were used to determine distances of pollock
targets to trawl components for position of fish and to
calculate tilt and yaw for orientation of fish.
Dat a collections
Field testing of the video -drop system was conducted
12 –15 Ju ly 2008 at Zhemchug Rid ges, locat ed on
the east er n Ber ing S ea shelf adjacent to Zhemchug
Canyon where a sizable rockfish p opulation is pres-
ent in u ntrawlable and isolated rocky ridge area (Fig.
6; Rooper et al., in press). The camera s ystem was
deployed of f the side of the vessel FV Vesteraalen by a
winch suspended from a block attached to the vessel’s
crane. The camera sled dri fted with t he prevai ling
cu rrent, whi le the camera wi nc h operator kept the
seaf loor in view and avoided a ny obstacles using rea l-
time navigation . Stereo video was collected over 11
transects, each rang ing in length from 3.5 to 49.5 min
and covering d istances of 95 m to 1673 m. Obser va-
tions of trawl movements with the still-frame system
were made dur ing acoustic surveys of pollock in the
eastern Bering Sea in June and July 20 07 onboard the
RV Oscar Dyson (F ig. 6).
Testing of the c alibr ations for the t wo camera syste ms
To test the video calibration five random still images was
selected from the video-drop system of the checkerboard
taken at the begin ning and end of the study. Three
intervals of 10 cm, 20 cm and 30 cm each were measured
three times from the top to the bottom of the checker-
board (n= 3 for each interval) and averaged within each
frame. The average from each frame multiplied by the
interval combination was then tested in an analysis of
variance to determine whether there were significant
differences between measurements from the rst and
second measurement set.
Williams et al.: Use of ster eo-camera systems i n assessing roc kfish abundance and pollock behavior
Result s
The estimates of distance of the fish to the trawl deter-
mined with the second calibration of the drop-video
system were signi f icantly larger and more var iable
than those from the first measurement set across all
three intervals (Fig. 7). Differences between the mean
measurement s a nd known values in the s econd set
ranged from 6.6% to 8.2%. However, the 95% confidence
intervals for both sets included the actual va lues for
the intervals in all cases, and the coefficients of varia-
tion for the measurements ranged to 5.5% of the mean
value, indicating that the length measurements were
reasonably precise. A similar procedure was also per-
formed with the still-frame system, but only a single
set of validation measurements was made before the
start of f ield operations. The resu lts of this set closely
matched that of the f irst set made with the video cam-
eras (Fig. 7).
Fis h lengths determin ed with the vide o-drop system
The adult rockfish observed in the video were northern
rockfish (96.94%), unidentified adult rockfish (Sebastes
spp., 0.98 %), adult Pacif ic ocean perch (0.49 %), and
dusky rockfish (S. ciliatus,1.60%), whereas most of the
juveniles that were identified to species were Pacific
ocean perch (Rooper et al. in press). Some of the juve-
nile rockfishes observed in the v ideo were too small to
identify to species. I ndividuals of each species group
were randomly chosen to be measured in proportion with
their abundance. Up to 200 randomly selected individual
rockfish were measured in each transect, resulting in
a total of 1489 length measu rements. Rockfish were
measured by using fork length only if both the tip of
their snout and the end of the tail were plainly visible
in both still images. If the randomly chosen rockfish
could not be measured, the next available rockfish of the
same species group that was deemed measureable was
chosen. In a few cases, where the occurrence of a spe-
cies group was very small (<5 individuals in a transect),
none were measured.
A random sample of 20 rockfish that were observed in
successive still frames of both video cameras was used
to determine measurement precision and to estimate
distance of the fish from the camera. These fish were
measured in up to four consecutive frames and their
estimated length were compared by using linear regres-
sion (Fig. 8). The percent difference between successive
length measurements was not significantly related to
the average fish length (P= 0.28); in other words, there
was no length-related bias in the measurements. The
length data were also tested for a relationship with dis-
tance from the camera by using linear regression. There
was no bias in the measurements of fish for distance
from the camera (P=0.29). T he standard deviation of
fish length = distance ([Xh, Yh, Zh], [Xt, Yt, Zt])
[Xt, Yt, Zt]
[Xh, Yh, Zh]
camera Right
XFigure 3
Method for determining f ish length measurements by using s tereo images. T he th ree-dimen-
sion al coordi nat es of the fish head and tai l (Xh,Yh, Zh; Xt,Yt,Zt) were deter mi ned by stereo-
trian gulation and by usi ng the im age-based coord inates from the image pairs (i.e., L Xh,LYh;
RXh,RY h). Fish length was estimated as the Euclidia n distance between the three-dimensional
points of the he ad and ta il.
358 Fishery Bulletin 108(3)
the percent difference in multiple measurements of the
same sh was 0.076.
Analysis of still -frame ste re o i mages
Ten deployments were made with the still-frame system,
and ~200 fish were measured per deployment. Catches
consisted almost exclusively of walleye pollock (>99%). A
comparison between the length frequencies derived from
the stereo analysis (n= 360) and physical measurements
of fish captured in the codend (n=1260, Fig. 9) showed
that optical sampling approximates the length-frequency
distribution of fish caught, despite the smaller sample
size for optical sampling.
In addition to length measurements, the stereo analy-
sis prov ided data on walleye pollock orientation and
their relative position within the trawl. Quantitative
descriptions of the distribution of tilt and yaw angles
were easily calculated by using the same points in im-
ages (head and tail) derived for sh lengths (Fig. 10).
To calculate the position of fish within the trawl addi-
tional corresponding points along the trawl panel were
identified and their three-dimensional coordinates were
determined by the triangulation process outlined above
(Fig. 5).
The potential of stereo cameras for measuring marine
organisms has been shown in many studies (i.e., Shortis
et al., 20 00 ; Harvey et al., 2003), but here we present
a description of the complete implementation of stereo
cameras, including equipment costs (Table 1), image
analysis process, and expected precision in data from
these systems. The two stereo-camera systems described
here were studied for their potential to provide infor-
mat ion to augment fisheries assessment sur veys in
Alaska. Specifically, the stereo-camera systems in our
study provided species and length data for untrawlable
regions located within bottom-trawl survey boundaries
and provide a new method for studying the behavior
of f i sh in a midwater trawl. Our main goal was to
pre sent eld-tested method s to provide qua ntifiable
image-based data for fisher ies surveys and our results
may help similar research with stereo- camera–based
sampling systems.
The video - drop system was usefu l for esti mating
rockfish size and species composition in eld tests in
Alaska. Error rates for size were on the order of 8.2%
or less, which equates to about 2.5 cm for a 30 -cm fish.
Compared with other studies with error rates of ~0.1%
to 0.7% in stereo-video systems (Harvey et al., 2002 ;
Harvey et al., 2003; Shortis et al., 2009), the measure-
ment error rate in our study was high. This rate repre-
sents systematic error most likely caused by the need
to remove cameras from the housing after each deploy-
ment because a sl ight misal ig nment of the cameras
in relation to the position at calibration would reduce
the precision of the measurements. Ruff et al. (1995)
report an ach ievable level of precision in measur ing
fish of 3.5%, based on repeat measurements of indi-
viduals, which is also better than the 5.9% observed
in our study. The error rates also compare well to the
rates of 1–5% for measuring rig id items with parallel
lasers (Rochet et a l., 2006). However, only fish on or
near which the parallel laser beams are projected can
be measured. This restriction limits the measurement
sample size. In contrast, any fish simultaneously viewed
by both cameras in a stereo-camera system can be mea-
sis7right_9.bmp Load images
Recover data
Load Calibration File
New Target
Delete Length
Delete Mark
Mark Point
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Save Results
3D plot
Figure 4
Computerized display of the stereo processing options for the drop st ereo-video with a custom-built appl ication wr itten
in the Matlab computing lang uage. Synchronous i mages were ext racted from videos ta ken by two cameras and used to
estimate f ish leng th. Images were taken in Zhemchug Rid ges in the easter n Bering Sea in July 2008.
Left Shot Info
Right Shot Info
Williams et al.: Use of ster eo-camera systems i n assessing roc kfish abundance and pollock behavior
Figure 6
Map of study ar eas in the easter n Beri ng Sea show in g the location of f ield
tests of t he drop st ere o v ideo cameras for sampling untrawlable areas (black
square) i n July 2008 and for sampli ng fish behavior in a trawl (c ircles) with
a sti ll-frame stereo camera in July 2007.
A raw image B processed image C 3D reconstruction
height (m)
across trawl axis (m)
along trawl axis (m)
Figure 5
Images of wa lleye pollock (Therag ra chalcogramma) from a st il l-f ra me ster eo camera in a midwater trawl and a 3-D
rec onstruc tion of fish in relation to the trawl net. (A) Fish leng ths were meas ur ed by enla rg ing the ima ge of a f ish
and indicatin g the position of the snout and tail (shown as U) in both right a nd left raw ima ges (on ly the left image is
show n above) . (B) The chosen f ish endpoints are overla id on the image as lines. In addition to estimates of f ish length,
stereo -pr ocessing a llows the position of f ish i n relation t o the trawl to be esti mat ed. A dditional point s in the images ca n
be determined by findi ng cor responding left-right image pixel coord inates (B, shown as crosses) . (C) Following stereo-
trian gulation, a three-dimensional plot shows the f ish ta rgets as arrows and trawl mesh k nots as dots.
sured, and thus the number of
fish that can be measured is
larger from the same leng th
transect. Improvements in the
qua lity of the still-frame im-
ages and in the collect ion of
calibration data from a target
at the beginning of each tran-
sect may allow more precise
me a s u r eme nts to be taken
in future studies. Given our
ina bility w ith ot her su r v ey
gear s t o determ ine fish siz e
and species composition in un-
trawlable habitats, the use of
stereo cameras holds promise
for stock assessments of rock-
fish and other species. Stereo-
camera-based sampling could
als o be us ed broa dly wh er-
ever gears other than bottom
trawls are needed to obta i n
speci es- or size - composit ion
Lengths of rock fish derived
fr om the video-drop system
were generally comparable to
trawl catch-based size distri-
butions for the species exam-
St. Matthew Island
Zhemchug Ridges
St. Paul Island
360 Fishery Bulletin 108(3)
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Length (cm)
Figure 9
Comp ar ison between leng th freq uencies of wa lleye pollo ck (T her agra chal-
cog ramm a) estimated from (A) the im ages from a stil l-f rame stereo ca mera
(n=360) w ith in a midwater trawl, and leng th frequencies obtained from (B)
fi sh captured in the codend and dir ec tly measu re d (n=12 60). The smaller
ca mera-based sample results are sim ilar to the direc t measur ement s in
their overa ll size d istribution, but there was less defi nition for larger fish
(>20 cm). Data were pooled from three trawl samples taken in the east ern
Ber ing Sea in July 20 07.
−20 −16 −12 −8 −4 0 4 8 12 16 20
Percent difference from mean
Figure 8
Frequenc y of perc ent differences from multiple leng th
measu rements o f n=2 0 ro ck f is h and the mean len gth
of the fish. Individual f ish were measur ed multiple
ti mes fro m a series of images ext racted fro m video
ta ken by a d rop stereo-video ca me ra . Measurements
fr om eac h i mag e were then com pa r ed to the mean
measu rement for that indi vidual t o estim at e poten-
tial me asurem ent err or. Rockf ish ob serv ation s were
coll ect ed at Zh em chug Rid ges , ea st ern Ber i ng Sea
in July 200 8.
Percent deviation
Distance measured (m)
video – 1st measurement set
video – 2nd measurement set
still-image calibration
Figure 7
Results of measur in g known d ista nces on the check-
erb oa rd (se e F ig. 2) duri ng the first and second cali-
brations of t he drop stereo video- ca mera syst em and a
still-f ra me stereo- ca mera syst em used for estimati ng
fish lengt h and study ing b eh av ior. Cal ibra ti on is a
nec es sa ry step in the use of st ereo ca meras to a llow
mea su rements to be made from images. Values repre -
sent the percent dev iation in measurements in relation
to known va lues, includi ng 95 % conf idenc e inter vals
based on f ive measu re ments.
ined. Nor thern roc kfis h leng ths
fr om ster eo-video images ta ken
along transects at Zhemchug Ridg-
es ranged from 9 to 41 cm (mean
length= 3 0.0 cm). In th ree bot -
tom-trawl surveys near the Aleu-
tian Islands, Clausen and Heifetz
(200 2) found that the mean size
of northern rockfish was 29.9 cm
and ranged from 15 to 38 cm. Ju-
venile Pacific ocean perch lengths
(2.6 cm to 2 5.0 cm) were similar
but ranged to smaller sizes than
those found for the A leut ian Is-
lands (8.3cm to 24.9 cm; Boldt and
Rooper, 2009). Lengths of juvenile
Pacific ocean perch obtained from
stereo video were also similar to
those in three experimental tows
in the Zhemchug Ridges area in
2004 and 2007 (juveniles ranged
from 10 c m to 2 5 cm) . However,
these l eng t h s w e r e me a s u r e d
from sh captured during bottom
trawl hauls, where the incidenc e
of smallersh may have been due
to reduced catchability of smaller
indiv idual s. Although these ob-
servations are not meant to serve
Williams et al.: Use of ster eo-camera systems i n assessing roc kfish abundance and pollock behavior
Tilt angle (degrees) Yaw (degrees)
Figure 10
Orientiation of walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogr amma) within a midwater
trawl. A still-frame stereo camera was used to determine (A) the distribution
of ind ividua l fish tilt a ngle (dev iat ion of snout-tail axis from the horizontal),
and (B) the yaw (angle of fish heading in the horizontal plane). Most f ish
were oriented hor izonta lly and facing towa rd t he trawl op ening. Image data
were collecte d in the eastern Bering Sea in July 2007 as part of a study of
fish behav ior w ith in the trawl.
as a q uantitative comparison of
trawl- and stereo-camera–derived
size estimat es, they demonstrate
th e simila r itie s in in form ation
supplied by the two methods and
the potential for stereo cameras to
overcome some problems with the
catchability of juvenile fish.
The stereo camera was very use-
ful for studying behavior of pollock
in the trawl. The data show the
possibility of performing a length-
based analysis of behavior which
will directly contribute to studies
of gear selectivity and future de-
sig ns of scientif ic trawl gear. A l-
though a p ostsu rvey calibrat ion
was not performed with the still-
frame system, the camera s were
securely fastened in the housings
and were not removed during the
entire data collection, thus main-
taining intercamera spacing and
an gles. The agreement between
the cat ch-based leng th measure-
me n t s a nd t he s t e r e o - de r iv e d
leng ths provides direct validation
of the stereo-derived measurements. The low sampling
frequency of 1 frame per 5 s ensured minimal inf lu-
enc e of t he arti fic ial lightin g from the cameras on
behavior because the fish photographed had not been
previously exposed to the light source.
Recent development of hig h-resolution dig ital im-
aging devices and an increased access to custom de-
signed, freely available software tools have made ste -
reo- camera methods easy to implement by rese arch
gr oups w it hout direct expertise in the subject. The
camera calibration toolbox (Boug uet, 200 8) provided
the basis for software development. Although the cur-
rent analysis approach is stil l fairly t ime intensive,
the volumes of data analyzed were not very large. In a
routine application of stereo-v ideo cameras in untraw-
lable areas, additional levels of automated processing
would likely be required because the quantity of v ideo
footage wou ld subs tantial. For some aspe cts of the
analysis, such as the matching of targets on the stereo
cameras and the extraction of fish leng ths, automation
may be atta inable, whereas automating more dif ficult
tasks of isolating a nd identifying fish targets may not
be feasible.
Stereo photography will continue to be developed as
sur vey tools are developed for monitoring fish stocks
and thereby improving the quality of stock assessments
of fishery resources in Alaska. Some challenges remain;
for instance, the challenge of institutionalizing image-
based sampling as a routine survey method for untraw-
lable habitats. As a method of studying sh behavior
in trawls, stereo cameras provide promising results by
allowing three-dimensional reconstructions of the trawl
The development and deployment of the c amera and
winch system was possible only through the assistance
of G. McMurr in, G. Mundell, B. Lauth, G. Hoff, and
especially S. McEntire. T. Cosgrove, K. Sjong, L. Mavar,
and M. Booth of the FV Vesteraalen were instrumental
in conducting the field t ests. Calibration and deploy-
ment of the still-frame camera system were significantly
aided by D. Jones and A. McCarthy. This manuscript
was reviewed by D. Somerton, G. Hoff, R. Lauth, and
M. Wilkins.
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... The underwater stereo video was also used to determine population counts and spatial and temporal frequencies, incorporating detection and identification [34]. Stereo vision is also integrated for video-based tracking [35], fish volume monitoring [36] or abundance [37], and 3D tracking of free-swimming fish [38]. ...
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Monitoring the status of culture fish is an essential task for precision aquaculture using a smart underwater imaging device as a non-intrusive way of sensing to monitor freely swimming fish even in turbid or low-ambient-light waters. This paper developed a two-mode underwater surveillance camera system consisting of a sonar imaging device and a stereo camera. The sonar imaging device has two cloud-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) functions that estimate the quantity and the distribution of the length and weight of fish in a crowded fish school. Because sonar images can be noisy and fish instances of an overcrowded fish school are often overlapped, machine learning technologies, such as Mask R-CNN, Gaussian mixture models, convolutional neural networks, and semantic segmentation networks were employed to address the difficulty in the analysis of fish in sonar images. Furthermore, the sonar and stereo RGB images were aligned in the 3D space, offering an additional AI function for fish annotation based on RGB images. The proposed two-mode surveillance camera was tested to collect data from aquaculture tanks and off-shore net cages using a cloud-based AIoT system. The accuracy of the proposed AI functions based on human-annotated fish metric data sets were tested to verify the feasibility and suitability of the smart camera for the estimation of remote underwater fish metrics.
... For example, Optical probes such as the Underwater Vision Profiler (Picheral et al., 2010), the Laser-Optical Plankton Counter (Basedow et al., 2013;Herman & Harvey, 2006), the Video Plankton Recorder (Sainmont et al., 2014), and the Light frame On-sight Key species Investigation system (Schmid et al., 2016;Schulz et al., 2010) all use light sources and optical sensors to assess the vertical distribution and abundance of zooplankton. Researchers and the industry alike increasingly use high-definition (HD) video cameras or stereo-cameras mounted on trawls to document the catchability of different species or size classes of fish (Boldt et al., 2018;Underwood et al., 2020;Williams et al., 2010). Such camera systems, when used in dim environments, rely on external light sources to distinguish, and identify marine animals at depth. ...
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The globally widespread adoption of Artificial Light at Night (ALAN) began in the mid‐20th century. Yet, it is only in the last decade that a renewed research focus has emerged into its impacts on ecological and biological processes in the marine environment that are guided by natural intensities, moon phase, natural light and dark cycles and daily light spectra alterations. The field has diversified rapidly from one restricted to impacts on a handful of vertebrates, to one in which impacts have been quantified across a broad array of marine and coastal habitats and species. Here we review the current understanding of ALAN impacts in diverse marine ecosystems. The review presents the current state of knowledge across key marine and coastal ecosystems (sandy and rocky shores, coral reefs and pelagic) and taxa (birds and sea turtles), introducing how ALAN can mask seabirds and sea turtles navigation, cause changes in animals predation patterns and failure of coral spawning synchronization, as well as inhibition of zooplankton Diel Vertical Migration. Mitigation measures are recommended, however, while strategies for mitigation were easily identified, barriers to implementation are poorly understood. Finally, we point out knowledge gaps that if addressed would aid in the prediction and mitigation of ALAN impacts in the marine realm.
... More recently, there has been a greater emphasis on applying optical approaches. Underwater observations have had a wide application in fisheries to monitor the fishing gear and fish behavior during the capture process (DeCelles et al., 2017;Graham et al., 2004;Kilpatrick et al., 2011;Rosen and Holst, 2013;Williams et al., 2010) and during the past few years, there have been many developments in the application of computer vision to the analysis of underwater images and to the size and species recognition of fish (Álvarez-Ellacuría et al., 2020;Ditria et al., 2020;Garcia et al., 2020;Yu et al., 2020). ...
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Catch monitoring during demersal trawling is important to help fishers around the globe to cope with high bycatches. Information about catch composition during towing will allow fishers to identify and react to the presence of unwanted catch and undertake actions to avoid them during trawling. In demersal trawl fisheries, catch monitoring by the optical devices is typically challenged by the poor quality of underwater observations due to sediment mobilized during the towing process. In this study we develop, test and quantify the effect of a demersal trawl modification including sediment suppressing sheet and an in-trawl image acquisition system for catch monitoring during bottom trawling. The system is demonstrated on low-headline trawls that are typically used in mixed Nephrops-directed fisheries. We show that fitting a sediment suppressing sheet in the front part of the gear reduces the amount of mobilized sediment by half at three test positions inside the gear. When this sheet is used in combination with an in-trawl image acquisition system placed in the aft part of the trawl it is possible to obtain clear images of the catch during demersal trawling on the soft muddy grounds.
... Care must be taken when interpreting habitat distribution models generated from these data as the results may reflect changes in sampling effort or survey design rather than the distribution of the stock . Much of the data for the juvenile through adult stages were from bottom trawl surveys that do not adequately sample untrawlable habitat (Williams et al., 2010;Rooper et al., 2012). Habitat distribution models based on these observations may be biased for some species such as rockfish that utilize untrawlable grounds . ...
Over the past two decades, numerous ecosystem surveys and process studies have emerged to monitor and assess the large marine ecosystems of Alaska. Several regional collaborative integrated ecosystem research projects (IERPs) were conducted to gain understanding of fish population fluctuations in relation to the surrounding environment. The Gulf of Alaska (GOA) IERP is one example of such an effort. Products of this program include a suite of in situ observations from fully integrated ecosystem surveys, laboratory experiments of physical thresholds for fish condition, and high-resolution oceanographic, planktonic, and habitat distribution models. When coupled, the synthesis products of this program can be utilized to understand system connectivity and highlight the primary ecosystem drivers of the GOA. Much of this information was included in annual GOA ecosystem status reports through individual indicator contributions. However, assimilation of these data into single-species stock assessments has remained limited. We provide a clear and direct avenue for including the products of these IERPs through the new ecosystem and socioeconomic profile (ESP) framework that identifies mechanistic relationships and tests ecosystem linkages within the stock assessment process. We present a case study using a data synthesis of the five commercially and ecologically valuable focal species of the GOAIERP (sablefish, pollock, Pacific cod, arrowtooth flounder, and Pacific ocean perch). Information was organized along the categories of distribution, phenology, and condition by life history stage to develop life history narratives for each species. These narratives identified critical ecosystem processes that could impact survival of each species. We then used habitat distribution models, seasonal phenology, and energy allocation strategies to sequentially reduce two gridded temperature datasets to reflect the life experience of the stock. This method essentially aligns ecosystem information at a spatial and temporal scale relevant to a stock and creates informed indicators that could then be related to a stock assessment parameter of interest, such as recruitment. Informed temperature indicators differed in magnitude and variability when compared to non-informed indicators and demonstrating species and stage-specific thermal preferences. The difference between the informed indicators and the non-informed indicators can also highlight thresholds and trends in habitat preference that could be further investigated with targeted process studies or laboratory experiments. The coordinated nature of the IERP allowed for the creation of these informed indicators that would not be possible with the results of any one process study. Both the stock-specific narratives and the informed indicators can be included into the ESPs for further monitoring and development. This integration ensures that the identified ecosystem linkages are evaluated concurrently with the stock assessment and ultimately transferred to fishery managers in an efficient and effective format for informing management decisions.
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The creation of three-dimensional models from an unorganized set of points is an active research area in computer graphics. One of the purposes of this study is to explore the 3D reconstruction of a cube-type artificial reef (CTAR) set by linear structured light and binocular stereo vision technology in an underwater environment. The experimental setup is composed of two cameras in a stereo vision configuration. The alpha shapes method can be used to construct a surface that most closely reflects the artificial reef set described by the points. A parameter study is conducted to assess the scales of the set (i.e., usable volume, surface area, projected area, height, and base diameter) on the basis of 3D reconstruction. Experimental results show that the quality of 3D reconstruction in an underwater environment is acceptable for estimating the scale size of the CTAR set. According to the measurement of the scale sizing of the CTAR set, the relationships between the parameters of the CTAR set and the number of CTAR modules were determined. Moreover, the usable volume of the CTAR set can be estimated depending on the basis of the number of CTAR modules.
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The relative value of pelagic habitat for three size classes of juvenile Pacific ocean perch (Sebastes alutus) was investigated by comparing their abundance and condition in two areas of the Aleutian Islands. Diet, zooplankton biomass, and water column temperatures were examined as potential factors affecting observed differences. Juvenile Pacific ocean perch abundance and condition, and zooplankton biomass varied significantly between areas, whereas juvenile Pacific ocean perch diet varied only by size class. Observed differences in fish condition may have been due to the quantity or quality of pelagic prey items consumed. For the delineation of essential demersal fish habitat, important ecological features of the pelagic habitat must therefore be considered.
Assessment of walleye pollock in the E Bering Sea is complicated because the species is semi-pelagic in habitat. Annual bottom trawl surveys provide estimates of demersal abundance. Total population estimates have ranged from 134 × 10⁹ fish in 1979 to 27 × 10⁹ fish in 1988. Changes in age-specific abundance estimates have documented the passage of strong (1978, 1982, and 1984) and weak year classes through the fishery. In general, older fish are more demersally oriented and younger fish are more abundant in midwater, but this trend was not always evident in the patterns of abundance of 1- and 2-yr old fish. -from Authors
Canary rockfish Sebastes pinniger, yellowtail rockfish, S. flavidus and Pacific ocean perch S. alutus, dominated the rockfish biomass in the Vancouver and Columbia INPFC areas. Rockfish biomass was low in the Eureka area but increased again to the S. The rockfish biomass in the Monterey and Conception INPFC areas was dominated by shortbelly rockfish S. jordani, splitnose rockfish S. diploproa, chilipepper S. goodei, stripetail rockfish S. saxicola, and bocacio S. paucispinis. Shortbelly rockfish were principally pelagic in their distribution.-from Sport Fishery Abstracts
During the VIITAL cruise in the Bay of Biscay in summer 2002, two devices for measuring the length of swimming fish were tested: 1) a mechanical crown that emitted a pair of parallel laser beams and that was mounted on the main camera and 2) an underwater auto-focus video camera. The precision and accuracy of these devices were compared and the various sources of measurement errors were estimated by repeatedly measuring fixed and mobile objects and live fish. It was found that fish mobility is the main source of error for these devices because they require that the objects to be measured are perpendicular to the field of vision. The best performance was obtained with the laser method where a video-replay of laser spots (projected on fish bodies) carrying real-time size information was used. The auto-focus system performed poorly because of a delay in obtaining focus and because of some technical problems.
The northern rockfish, Sebastes polyspinis, is the second most abundant rockfish in Alaska, and it supports a valuable trawl fishery. Little information is available, however, on either the biology of this species or its commercial fishery. To provide a synopsis of information on northern rockfish in Alaska, this study examined data for this species from commercial fishery observations in 1990-98 and from fishery-independent trawl surveys in 1980-99. Nearly all the commercial catch came from bottom trawling, mostly by large factory-trawlers, although smaller shore-based trawlers in recent years took an increasing portion of the catch in the Gulf of Alaska. Most of the northern rockfish catch in the Gulf of Alaska was taken by a directed fishery, whereas that of the Aleutian Islands predominantly came as discarded bycatch in the Atka mackerel fishery. In both regions, most of the catch was taken from a number of relatively small and discrete fishing grounds at depths of 75-150 m in the Gulf of Alaska and 75-175 m in the Aleutian Islands. These grounds, especially in the Gulf of Alaska, are on shallow rises or banks located on the outer continental shelf, and often are surrounded by deeper water. Five fishing grounds were identified in the Gulf of Alaska, and eleven in the Aleutian Islands. One fishing ground in the Gulf of Alaska, the "Snakehead" south of Kodiak Island, accounted for 46% of the total northern rockfish catch in this region. Analysis of the survey data generally revealed similar patterns of geographic distribution as those seen in the fishery, although some of the commercial fishing grounds did not stand out as areas of special abundance in the surveys. The surveys also found two areas of abundance that were not evident in the fishery data. Relatively few juvenile northern rockfish were caught in any of the surveys, but those taken in the Gulf of Alaska tended to occur more inshore and at shallower depths than adults. Individual size of northern rockfish was substantially larger in the Gulf of Alaska than in the Aleutian Islands according to both fishery and survey data. Analysis of age data from each region supports this, as Gulf of Alaska fish were found to grow significantly faster and reach a larger maximum length than those in the Aleutian Islands. Sex ratio in the Gulf of Alaska was nearly 50:50, but females predominated in the Aleutian Islands by a ratio of 57:43. In both regions, size of females was significantly larger than males.
A simple field method to correct for bias in stereo-photographic underwater measure-ments is presented and its usefulness to improve the accuracy of length estimates of free-swimming fish is tested. The calibration is based on the inclusion of stereo exposures of a slate of known dimensions at the beginning and end of each measuring session, and it allows correction for non-parallel optical axes, spherical aberration of the lenses, and for other sources of bias that may vary between sessions. A precision of ±3% for replicate length measurements of a 30 cm slate is obtained at distances between 0.7 and 2.0 m. This compares well with reported values that are obtained with more sophisticated (laboratory) methods. However, application of this calibration does not significantly improve the accuracy of stereo measurements of the length of free-swimming fish (±2.5 cm or 7-11% of actual fish length). The limitations are caused by difficulties in recognizing identical extreme points at the body of fish that are photographed under field conditions. By averaging three or more replicate measurements the accuracy is improved to ±1 cm (2.7-4.5%). We conclude that effort should be aimed at increasing sample size, rather than at improving equipment and correction procedures, when measuring free-swimming fish in their natural habitat.
A simple field method to correct for bias in stereo-photographic underwater measurements is presented and its usefulness to improve the accuracy of length estimates of free-swimming fish is tested. The calibration is based on the inclusion of stereo exposures of a slate of known dimensions at the beginning and end of each measuring session. and it allows correction for non-parallel optical axes, spherical aberration of the lenses. and for other sources of bias that may vary between sessions. A precision of t3% for replicate length measurements of a 30 cm slate is obtained at distances between 0.7 and 2.0 m. This compares well with reported values that are obtained with more sophisticated (laboratory) methods. However, application of this calibration does not significantly improve the accuracy of stereo measurements of the length of free-swimming fish (22.5 cm or 7-11% of actual fish length). The limitations are caused by difficulties in recognizing identical extreme points at the body of fish that are photographed under field conditions. By averaging three or more replicate measurements the accuracy is improved to il cm (2.7-4.5%). We conclude that effort should be aimed at increasing sample size. rather than at improving equipment and correction procedures, when measuring free-swimming fish in their natural habitat.
A geographic information system (GIS) analysis of 5039 bottom trawl events from U.S. west coast bottom trawl surveys (1977-1998) estimated that the survey area was about 77% trawlable but five of the 30 strata were less than 50% trawlable. Untrawlable areas, by definition, cannot be surveyed with the bottom trawl; however, there has never been a means of identifying and excluding these areas from relative abundance estimates, which are calculated only from hauls completed in the trawlable portions of each stratum. Unknown amounts of untrawlable habitat are a problem for relative abundance estimation in many bottom trawl surveys. This manuscript describes one method of using the bottom trawling events of a survey, such as ripped-up hauls and abandoned stations, to calculate the amount of area that is untrawlable. A comparison of catch rates between undamaged tows and a limited number of damaged tows, which are normally discarded as faulty samples, showed that Sebastes catch rates were generally higher in damaged tows. Thus untrawlable areas may have substantial importance on relative abundance estimates of Sebastes, the original target species group for this survey.
We describe and discuss a non-invasive D measurement technology based on optical stereoscopy and computer image analysis for continuous monitoring of size, position, shape, and spatial orientation of single fish in cages containing many fish. We provide limited initial results to demonstrate that fish dimensions may be measured to millimetre accuracy and that fish may be tracked over limited time intervals to observe detailed movement. We discuss how this may be developed to monitor whole fish stocks in a fish farm. Advantages and limitations of this technology are discussed in comparison to other currently available systems. The impact on aquaculture of this type of system for accurate and continuous monitoring is discussed.