Markets Technology

Going Fishing with LiDAR

I found this report from 1996 analyzing the results of tests conducted by SAIC to be quite interesting from a couple of points of view. The first is to see what the state of the art in airborne LiDAR technology was in the mid-1990’s and the second for me is the fact that it sounded like it was going to be commercially feasible for large fishing fleets to use helicopters equipped with LiDAR to locate schools of tuna and other valuable fish. For some reason, at least as far as I know that is not being done, but I guess I could be wrong on that.

The report indicates that the LiDAR was theoretically capable of penetrating the water column to depths of 450 feet in blue water. The researchers felt that on average a depth of 300 feet was needed to be commercially viable.

Now if we could get this into a handheld version the hobby fisherman would be all over this.

1 Comment

  • The Russian fishing fleet was using airborne fish lidar in the late 1980s and I saw versions of the lidar system – Mackerel 1 and 2 in 1990 in Tomsk. Jim Churnside at NOAA/ESRL Optical Remote Sensing Group in Boulder, CO has had a successful airborne fish lidar for many years. We used it in 2006-2007 to count fish schools in Chesapeake Bay. He has just received a well deserved award for his work.

    Jim Churnside to Receive 2011 George W. Goddard Award
    7 February 2011
    CSD scientist Jim Churnside has been announced as 2011 winner of the George W. Goddard award. The award is given annually by SPIE, an international society advancing an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light.

    The George W. Goddard Award is for exceptional achievement in optical or photonic instrumentation for aerospace, atmospheric science, or astronomy, specifically for the invention and development of a new technique, photonic instrumentation, instrument, or system.

    Jim’s award recognizes his “…creativity and leadership in developing and advancing the airborne fish lidar technique, and for wide-ranging contributions to optical propagation in the atmosphere and ocean.” He will receive the award at a ceremony this summer in San Diego.

    Jim has been a scientist at NOAA since 1985. He has developed NOAA Fish Lidar for airborne surveys of fish and has applied the lidar to various fisheries research problems. His general research interests include the study of the interaction of electrodynamic waves with geophysical fluids, and the applications of those interactions for remote sensing of the atmosphere and oceans. Of special interest are the characteristics of light scattered from the ocean surface and near-surface layer and applications to remote sensing of phytoplankton, zooplankton, and epipelagic fish schools.

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