Georeferenced 3D photogrammetry: a tool for monitoring finfish aquaculture impacts on hard seabed (RD152)


This project will advance the development of systems able to generate high-quality 3D photogrammetric models of marine pen fish farms using remotely operated underwater vehicles, in order to support implementation of higher standards of environmental regulation in aquaculture to safeguard marine protected species and habitats.

Funding Amount:


Duration of Project:

18 months

Project Summary:

To support sustainable growth in the finfish aquaculture sector, implementation of higher standards of environmental regulation are required to safeguard marine protected species and habitats. Much of this depends on strengthening the evidence base on the environmental effects, and performance, of marine pen fish farms (MPFFs). As the number and sizes of MPFFs increase, the probability of being associated with more diverse seabed types, including hard substrates and priority marine features (PMFs), becomes greater. Hard substrates cannot be grab sampled and quality assessment is only achievable by visual survey but currently regulatory standards for such inspections are lacking. These seabed types are often highly complex making them difficult to sample in, but the technique of 3D photogrammetry provides a potential step-change in how they may be surveyed reliably.

Photogrammetry generates 3D computer models from standard imagery and can accurately record underwater features and environments. It is ideal for surveying as the water “disappears” virtually from the models to reveal significant areas of the seabed while providing permanent records.

This project builds on feasibility study FS152 which showed that high quality photogrammetric models can be generated consistently from image data gathered from remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs). This project will further advance the integration of georeferencing systems to levels that support semi-autonomous surveying, evaluate machine-learning techniques that accelerate data gathering and analysis, and validate the creation of accurately scaled models from operating MPFFs. The outcomes will provide the evidence required to consider adopting georeferenced 3D photogrammetry as a regulatory standard.

STATUS: Ongoing

Project Lead

Tritonia Scientific Ltd