Looking for a specific product?

Make a search for products & suppliers, articles & news.

Next-generation echo sounder ready

Echo sounders are used to find fish in the ocean, observe their behaviour, and estimate their quantity and size as well as the abundance and distribution of the plankton upon which fish feed.

Research vessels and many fishing vessels typically use echo sounders that send and receive signals on up to six frequencies. Norwegian researchers have now developed an echo sounder that works on 100 frequencies simultaneously.

Photo: Sven Øvergaard

The potential of this new echo sounder far exceeds current systems, claims Principal Scientist Egil Ona of the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen. (Photo: Sven Øvergaard)


Quantum leap in fisheries acoustics

Currently, multiple echo sounders working in parallel on different frequencies are needed in order to identify marine organisms below the surface. A specific target – a school of mackerel, for instance – can be singled out by analysing all the elements within the echo sounder image (called an echogram) and removing the echoes from other species such as herring, cod and plankton. This creates an echogram showing only the seabed and the mackerel.

“Our new wideband echo sounder sends signals on all its frequencies at once, which is equivalent to 100 echo sounders operating on one frequency each,” explains Principal Scientist Egil Ona of the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen. “This makes it so much better at identifying fish and zooplankton, we consider it a quantum leap in fisheries acoustics.”

Dr Ona heads the project “Exploiting new wideband echo sounder technology for zooplankton characterization, sizing and abundance estimation (WESTZOO)”, which has received funding from the Research Council of Norway’s research programme on the Oceans and Coastal Areas (HAVKYST).

Photo: WESTZOO/Havforskningsinstituttet 2012

Testing of the echo sounder and stereo camera. (Photo: WESTZOO/Havforskningsinstituttet 2012)


Much higher resolution

Initially, the project researchers focused on zooplankton, since the echo from these marine organisms was so well suited to the available frequency band. Later, they tried out the wideband echo sounder on fish and other targets.

“The experimental results are extremely promising,” says Dr Ona. “The new system provides much better information about the target. In addition, the echograms are of far higher resolution, enabling us to identify various species more accurately than before.”

 “The potential of this new echo sounder far exceeds current systems, " says Dr Ona. The new product will hit the market in 2013, commercialised by the technology company Simrad, a part of Kongsberg Maritime AS. Simrad is a partner in the WESTZOO project.

Images from the deep

The WESTZOO project has yielded exciting results in addition to the new echo sounder technology. For instance, the researchers have developed a stereo camera method for photographing the organisms being measured in ocean depths. The photos are used to verify the patterns and other data detected by the echo sounder.

The researchers have also constructed an acoustic probe that can quantify and distinguish fish and plankton down to depths of 1 500 metres. “We are confident,” says Egil Ona, “that this will become a standard tool on a lot of research vessels in the future.”

Associated companies:


Related news

Latest news

Chairman Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen sets out transformation of IACS at CMA Shipping 2018

To help the maritime community ensure the cyber-resilience of their assets, 

DNV GL opens LNG test centre to enable safer and more efficient use of LNG

The ability to monitor the composition of LNG in real time 

Peter Brun appointed as DNV GL’s new global offshore wind segment leader

Brun brings more than 26 years of experience 

Getting a solid overview of silicon production at Elkem Thamshavn

Major investment by Bremnes Seashore

The contract comprises two Polarcirkel 1050 Cabin, 

Are you in full control of your equipment?

Poorly maintained nets may harm the fish.

Windcat Workboats builds their 19th and 20th vessel with Servogear CPP

The delivery of the Servogear Ecoflow Propulsor to Windcat 43 and Windcat 44 will take place in Q2 and Q4 2018.   

Steinsvik named “Company of the Year 2017”

Development takes time, and this company is a good example of that.

DNV GL primary project partner in Northern Gas Networks led Hydrogen Network Innovation ProjectNv

The project is split into two phases.