FORCE researchers deploy new monitoring platform at tidal energy site

Researchers at the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy have deployed a new underwater monitoring platform in the Bay of Fundy’s Minas Passage.

The platform, called the “FAST-3”, is the third built by FORCE and is designed to gather data on fish presence and behavior with sensors that include an acoustic zooplankton and fish profiler, and an autonomous scientific echo sounder.

“This platform will help us continue to enhance our marine life monitoring program,” FORCE general manager Tony Wright said. “While international research indicates fish and marine mammals generally avoid in-stream tidal turbines, we need to test those findings here in the Minas Passage, with the best tools available.”

FAST-3 was designed and built by a team that also included:

  • ASL Environmental Sciences (equipment supply and technical support);
  • CulOcean Consulting Ltd. (site characterization and selection);
  • Earle MacAloney Excavation Ltd. (on-land platform management);
  • Huntley’s Sub-Aqua Marine (vessel supply and marine deployment);
  • Kongsberg Maritime Canada Ltd. (equipment supply and technical support);
  • OceanMoor Technical Services (marine technical management);
  • Open Seas Instrumentation (platform design and construction);
  • Seaforth Geosurveys Inc. (platform deployment location evaluation and selection);
  • Velocity Machining & Welding (components for FAST-3 platform fabrication); and
  • WPV Designs (instrument mount fixtures design and fabrication).

Data collected will be analyzed by Dr. Haley Viehman, a post-doctoral fellow at Acadia University, who is building upon work performed while at the University of Maine using a turbine deployed in Cobscook Bay.

“I’ll be examining how fish use the water column, and how their densities and depths vary with respect to time of day, tidal stage and current speed,” Viehman said. “Understanding when fish are present, and how fish are spread out in the water column, will help us assess the potential for interaction with an in-stream tidal turbine at this location.”

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