A smarter way to fish

16 Oct 2017
SeapiX

SeapiX from French marine electronics specialist iXblue is a step into the future as it merges familiar fishing tools into a single working environment in a fishing vessel’s wheelhouse.

SeapiX from French marine electronics specialist iXblue is a step into the future as it merges familiar fishing tools into a single working environment in a fishing vessel’s wheelhouse.

According to Christophe Corbières at iXblue, the key is to bring together high-grade acoustic data with with commercially available mapping information, merging these to provide new layers of fishing information in two or three dimensions.

“This combines bathymetric data, seabed imaging, fish and shoal detection and dynamics, fishing gear data, logbook reporting, oceanographic data, AIS or radar readings and more into a single display,” he said.

SeapiX is effective in any weather conditions and from shallow depths down to 300 metres, using advanced CHIRP modulation, embedded SIG technology and embedded beam stabilisation to find, evaluate and track fish and shoals.

“In addition, SeapiX is the world’s first three-dimensional sonar, which makes available to the user all the advantages of both omni-directional sonar and conventional echo sounders, while also presenting the user with a whole new suite of functionalities to work with,” he said.

As a dual multibeam sonar, SeapiX generates a cross-track multibeam sweep (Sonar Transversal Vertical - STV), along with a simultaneous sweep along the vessel’s direction of travel (Sonar Axial Tiltable - SAT), with the capacity to generate two additional tiltable multibeam sweeps – one across the vessel’s track (STT) and another (SAS) along the vessel’s track, which is automatically steered to ensure that the entire water column is swept.

Christophe Corbières explained that each sweep has a 120° angle and 1.6° thickness, and the tilt capability is form a 90° vertical alignment to a +/- 50° tilt from the surface.

“By combining all of these sweep functions, the skipper can produce a pyramidal image of the seabed and the water column beneath the vessel, providing him with complete three-dimensional coverage of the biomass and bathymetric profile under the vessel, down to the seabed topography and hardness,” he said.

“This is the first time that a complete standalone system combining all of these acoustic sensors for analysing the marine environment, complete with its own data processing system, has been made available,” he said. “We see this as a real third way forward, combining the functions of omni-directional sonar and echo sounders, along with the new tools to help fishermen to make decisions.”

SeapiX has the capacity to evaluate individual fish and marks, as every fish over 7cm is tagged and TS categorised in the histogram.

“This is as has already been done with classic split beam sounders, but in this case the principle is applied to the multibeam sweep as a whole. The histogram analysis can be applied to the entire fish assessment, or to targeted fish marks by selecting the individual mark from the 2D/3D view. This provides the skipper with a targeted analysis to make comparisons and take catch decisions. The effectiveness of this has been demonstrated successfully on Faroese pelagic vessel Norðborg, showing how the analyser results can give the skipper better information to base decisions on,´he said, adding that this is a key feature for discard management and developing the most selective fishing strategies.

“Fishermen are now required to take quicker and more accurate decisions to guarantee profitability, while complying with requirements on sustainable harvesting. Most of the required information for smart fishing practices is already available on board fishing vessels, but this data is not correlated – until now. iXBlue offers unparalleled hardware and software to process data from sensors and clearly show data layers and the relationship between these layers. Thanks to the various overlaid expert modules above the classic fishing object database, the skipper can take relevant and quicker decisions to manage production,” Christophe Corbières said.

“SeapiX includes the entire SeaXpert advanced fishing navigations system. It bring to SeapiX  2D & 3D GIS fusion and advanced navigation feature and capability to gather various sensors available on board from gear-mounted sensors, other sounders, radars and other equipment. It’s a first for 3D sonar, and based on a dual multibeam array. SeapiX can map the whole subsea habitat. The dynamic steerable sweeps provide outstanding coverage and accuracy on both fish and seabed analysis, analysing twenty times more water volume than conventional multibeam sounders, and with higher discrimination.”