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An underwater drone monitors and protects NT marine life

underwater drone

A high-tech underwater drone is helping to monitor and protect fish and marine life from harmful aquatic pests in the Northern Territory. 

The remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) is taking monitoring to the next level, reducing the need for divers and providing a mobile camera capable of scanning large areas in a limited time frame. 

“The Territory’s commercial fishing and aquaculture industries inject $136 million into the economy each year, creating over 900 jobs,” NT Minister for Agribusiness and Aquaculture Nicole Manison said. 

“Just this year we have had satellites helping with our mango harvest, we opened a world-class Molecular Lab and now we have an underwater drone protecting our Territory marine life. 

 “We have some of the best, well-managed fisheries in the world and we are renowned for the quality of our seafood – this innovative approach is another way to minimise the risks of biosecurity threats in our pristine Territory waters.” 

The ROV equipment can be manoeuvred to most locations. It also supplies real-time footage to help identify invasive species. 

Researchers also used the remotely operated underwater vehicle last month to monitor the development of the hugely successful artificial reefs in the NT and check them for marine pests. 

The drone will assist with biosecurity inspections of Darwin Harbour that will occur next month and has the potential to detect aquatic pest species on boat hulls, with a recent trial conducted at Cullen Bay. 

“We know our artificial reefs are going swimmingly across the Top End and this underwater drone is another way we are helping protect some of our iconic species of fish,” Minister for Recreational Fishing Paul Kirby said. 

It can also be used around marine infrastructure, such as wharf pylons around Stokes Hill Wharf and Fort Hill Wharf, to check for aquatic pests in Darwin Harbour. 

For more information about biosecurity or artificial reefs, click here 

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