Artificially intelligent fish identification tool recognised at TNRM Awards

Congratulation to Dr Shane Penny, Department of Primary Industry and Resources (DPIR) Fisheries Research Scientist, who received the Research in Natural Resource Management Award at the Territory Natural Resource Management (TNRM) Awards on Wednesday 14 November.

Dr Penny was recognised for developing artificially intelligent technology to quantify the diversity and abundance of reef fish from video footage.

In the Territory, managing fish stocks is important for the sustainability of the recreational and commercial fishing sector, and for maintaining the Territory’s well-deserved reputation as world-class fishing destination.

Dr Penny’s research tool is significant at the national and international level and it is anticipated the use of this system or its derivatives by professional and citizen scientists will become common place over the next decade.

Working with the philanthropic arm of the Microsoft Corporation, Dr Penny and a small team of fisheries experts ‘trained’ two different artificial intelligence systems to identify fish species within a video frame from Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations (BRUVS).

Dr Penny’s collaboration between DPIR and Microsoft staff and the research tool it has produced is a significant step forward in the processing and analysis of BRUVS footage from areas where water clarity is poor and there is limited human and financial resources available to interpret the video footage, such as in the Northern Territory.

The reduction in size and cost of waterproof cameras in recent years means that individual BRUVS can now be set up relatively cheaply and capturing video is comparatively straight-forward. However prior the development of Dr Penny’s research tool, identifying fish from BRUVS footage could be time consuming, required specialist knowledge, and was often a mundane task.

DPIR’s Darwin Aquaculture Centre (DAC) was also a finalist for the Research in Natural Resource Management Award for their research and development of tropical rock oyster aquaculture in remote Aboriginal communities.

The project is working with Aboriginal communities to establish on-country oyster farms as viable and culturally appropriate businesses that can provide beneficial economic and employment opportunities.

Congratulations Dr Shane Penny and DAC on their research in natural resource management. The recognition of their exemplary work is very well-deserved.

Dale Kelly from ConocoPhillips Australia, Dr Shane Penny, TNRM Chair Clare Martin
Dale Kelly, ConocoPhilllips; Dr Shane Penny; and Clare Martin, TNRM Chair. Photo: Shane Eecon