Texting fish demand farmers attention

While they haven’t quite cracked translating animal speech, British company, Wood & Douglas, has achieved the next best thing by enabling fish to text the farmer’s mobile when they need some extra care and attention.

With wild fish stocks depleted by decades of over-fishing, large scale fish farming has become a key industry for our future dietary needs. Maintaining a healthy captive fish population demands a constant level of attention from this new breed of farmer, which is where help in the form of the Ultima GSM wireless module comes in.

To maximise production, fish farmers stock greater amounts of fish in a given body of water than found in nature, impacting the water condition. Any attempt to match a fish with less than ideal environmental conditions involves additional effort to restore water balance. Monitoring and controlling the environment for fish stock is critical to successful breeding.

Low-dissolved oxygen levels are responsible for more fish kills than all other problems combined. Should oxygen levels drop, Wood & Douglas’ Ultima GSM, a rugged wireless telemetry module, can be configured to send out alerts to one or more mobile phones and/or email accounts. The environmental status can then be monitored via phone or an internet web page, and uniquely, sending a text remotely initiates digital outputs which can be used to adjust heating and cooling systems or respond to changes in the chemical balance of the water.

The compact and rugged Ultima GSM unit houses a quad-band GSM/GPRS module. Four digital inputs allow connections to a range of environmental sensors for monitoring of temperature, levels of dissolved gases such oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen, levels of ammonia or changes in pH. The Ultima GSM can deliver regular status updates, or be polled with a status request at any time by simply sending the unit an SMS message.

Alan Wood, managing director, Wood & Douglas, said: “Properly managing water quality is one of the surest ways to assure fish health. Ultima GSM is a flexible response to the need for over-the-air status monitoring and control; simple to install, yet unaffected by operating in tough, remote conditions. You can now rely on receiving data and controlling response to any changes in water quality, reducing fish stress and improving production efficiency.

“With concerns over the potential environmental risks arising from the growing popularity of cage fish farms, Ultima GSM becomes a primary tool for maintaining sustainability of healthy environmental conditions, and should therefore be a key consideration when aquaculturists are considering developing coastal investments,” said Wood.

Ultima GSM is constantly monitored ensuring it does not drop into sleep mode when transmission is required and if running from a battery, the Real Time Clock system enables programmable sleep modes and wake-up for transmission, extending battery life to more than a year* and dramatically outperforming competitive devices.

A serial port on Ultima GSM also enables connection with Wood & Douglas’ Orion modem to create a powerful combination of Radio Terminal Unit, modem, and GSM/GPRS module to extend wireless data collection from even the most remote of farming sites.