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


Williams, Kresimir, Christopher N. Rooper, and Rick Towler
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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 fish 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.