At Blue Abacus we count fish. Fish are not only one of the most important resources in our oceans, lakes and rivers, but they are a critical indicator of the health of our entire aquatic ecosystem and our planet at large.
Counting fish is, not surprisingly, hard. It may be straightforward to identify a single fish species in a particular area, but that is not enough for a proper scientific analysis. For fish information to be useful one needs to know how many of a certain species are present. Of equal importance is size. It is the biggest fish in the water that contribute the most to the next generation. Big fish are an indicator of the strength and maturity of any species as well as the health of the aquatic system in general.
We count fish because it matters. Hundreds of millions of people rely on healthy fish populations and the blue economy for food, jobs, and recreation. Blue Abacus provides the means to understand ocean assets for both conservation and the sustainable use of aquatic resources. Whether an interested party wishes to manage fish populations, show impact from human activity or scan for invasive species, Blue Abacus offers the most affordable and effective way to enumerate fish quantitatively.
Stewardship and Integrity
Proper stewardship means that a balance must be struck between commercial and recreational access to fisheries and the conservation of fish populations to ensure this critical resource is maintained and will remain available for future generations. To make these decisions properly and with integrity, governments need to develop evidence based policies relating to access and conservation. Blue Abacus can collect and provide the scientific data which can be used by governments to do so.
Turning Impact to Benefit
Economic development and activity is a given in the modern world, but successful companies know that there is much more to focus on than just the bottom line. The ability to show benefits for communities and environments in which companies work translates into a social license for continued operation. Where offshore structures have been placed, Blue Abacus can collect and analyse data to show how fish populations may have benefited from the creation of a novel ecosystem.
Engagement & Empowerment
Oceans are a global resource and fish populations matter to the entire world. Whether for sustenance or recreation, hundreds of millions of people have a stake in what happens to fish populations. Engaging a worldwide community is not easy, but it starts with providing knowledge to empower communities to demand better from government and industry. Blue Abacus has the technology and vision to deliver accurate and understandable information about fish populations to communities around the world.
Professor Jessica Meeuwig
Led by Professor Jessica Meeuwig, the Blue Abacus team has a two part mission. In the field we collect and analyze critical data on pelagic fish populations in the big blue ocean. In the lab we continue to develop our AI to make data processing more streamlined and cost-effective, to develop new applications for our technology and to provide greater availability worldwide.
Professor Meeuwig has overseen or collaborated on some 70 expeditions to 34 locations globally since 2014. She has pioneered the use of stereo camera BRUVS as a standard sampling procedure for ocean wildlife.
Professor Meeuwig's brother, Jason has extensive maritime experience both as a sailor and a dive master. With two trans-Atlantics, ocean journeys to Alaska and from the Pacific Northwest through the Panama Canal to the Caribbean, Jason takes a practical approach to field work based on his time on and in the water.
Jason has overseen the development and design of new carbon fiber BRUVS which are being deployed in 2020. With a background in law and business, Jason deals with the day to day workings of Blue Abacus.
Carbon Fiber BRUVS
Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems (BRUVS) are used to collect video samples that capture fish population data creating a permanent record that has multiple uses. At Blue Abacus we reimagined BRUVS design, switching from heavier and bulkier aluminum rigs to lighter and more robust carbon fiber material. Our modular design allows the rig to be packed compactly and also provides for conversion from mid-water to demersal (seabed) use.
Using Carbon Fiber BRUVS to obtain video samples of fish populations is only the first step. From there we process each sample, identify fish by species, count each fish to enumerate populations and quantify by size. We do this with technology and scientific expertise.
We call our technology Fishbox™. Samples go in to the Fishbox™ and data comes out. With the processed data from Fishbox™ our science team conducts a custom analysis resulting in usable information for each client. At Blue Abacus we are developing Fishbox™ to move from manual fish counting to using artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve efficiency, reduce costs and increase access.