Atlantic Marine Aquaculture Center Contact:
Dolores Jalbert Leonard
Cold Conditions Take Toll But Feed Buoy Repairs are Successful
After the December, 2002 deployment of the new UNH Feed Buoy, Open Ocean Aquaculture (OOA) personnel started the new year with a challenging repair job in front of them. Record low temperatures froze the outlet port on the bilge pump, which led to minor water damage to electronic components in the buoy’s inner compartment. While repairs were not very difficult, just getting weather conditions that would allow the crew to work on the buoy was challenging (see photos below). By late February, however, engineers and operations staff were able to repair the damage and the UNH Feed Buoy is now functioning properly, automatically dispensing feed to the 3,000 haddock contained in the South Cage.
Moored at the surface, the UNH Feed Buoy pumps fish food through a hose, down to a submerged fish cage. The fish cages are kept approximately 30 feet below the surface to buffer the gear as well as the fish from heavy storms. The UNH Feed Buoy transmits regular electronic reports so that OOA engineers can keep tabs on the equipment without travelling to the offshore site. The UNH Feed Buoy also has the capacity to transmit underwater video images and engineers hope to be able to provide public Internet access to this video signal by the summer of 2003. The newly added solar panels and wind generators are designed to keep the Feed Buoy batteries recharged.