New ‘SmartTag’ technology can measure the well being of the fish –

New ‘SmartTag’ technology can measure the well being of the fish Published:  10 October, 2005

NEW technology makes it possible to measure whether fish is thriving in the fish farm. A small device on the fish registers its breathing activity, showing whether it is stressed, according to

How the fish is doing can now be monitored, something which is becoming increasingly important with increased emphasis on animal welfare.

The project is part of the EU-financed research programme SEAFOODplus, and started by Fiskeriforskning to document how the fish reacts to the environment in the fish farm. The company Thelma in Trondheim has been given the task of developing the technology, named ‘SmartTag’.

Testing and development of the equipment for use on cod has been carried out this autumn. The technology will initially be used in research work.

The equipment makes it possible to measure how often and how much the pressure changes in the mouth, and with that, the cod’s breath. From a box on its back, audio signals are sent to an underwater microphone, which sends the sound to a computer. There, a programme calculates the breathing activity.

“Traditionally, a number of individual factors are measured to map the fish’s well-being, such as density of fish in the net cage, the oxygen level in the water and the amount of waste products. But such measurements do not take into account how the sum of all the factors affects the fish. Also, only a few known factors are measured”, Scientist Øyvind Aas-Hansen at Fiskeriforskning said.

“Now we can measure how the total effect of the farming environment affects the fish. We envisage that the breeders can have a certain number of fish with this equipment in the net cages and can thus monitor the fish. Abnormal breathing activity indicates something is wrong, and measures can be implemented.”

As well as measuring breathing activity, work is being done to develop the equipment such that it can also register how often the fish eats. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish European Fish Trader, Fishing Monthly, Fish Farming Today, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.