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Bio-sensing technologies in aquaculture: how remote monitoring can bring us closer to our farm animals
journal contributionposted on 2021-08-02, 00:00 authored by J Brijs, M Føre, A Gräns, Timothy ClarkTimothy Clark, M Axelsson, J L Johansen
Farmed aquatic animals represent an increasingly important source of food for a growing human population. However, the aquaculture industry faces several challenges with regard to producing a profitable, ethical and environmentally sustainable product, which are exacerbated by the ongoing intensification of operations and increasingly extreme and unpredictable climate conditions. Fortunately, bio-sensors capable of measuring a range of environmental, behavioural and physiological variables (e.g. temperature, dissolved gases, depth, acceleration, ventilation, heart rate, blood flow, glucose and l-lactic acid) represent exciting and innovative tools for assessing the health and welfare of farmed animals in aquaculture. Here, we illustrate how these state-of-the-art technologies can provide unique insights into variables pertaining to the inner workings of the animal to elucidate animal–environment interactions throughout the production cycle, as well as to provide insights on how farmed animals perceive and respond to environmental and anthropogenic perturbations. Using examples based on current challenges (i.e. sub-optimal feeding strategies, sub-optimal animal welfare and environmental changes), we discuss how bio-sensors can contribute towards optimizing the growth, health and welfare of farmed animals under dynamically changing on-farm conditions. While bio-sensors currently represent tools that are primarily used for research, the continuing development and refinement of these technologies may eventually allow farmers to use real-time environmental and physiological data from their stock as ‘early warning systems' and/or for refining day-to-day operations to ethically and sustainably optimize production. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Measuring physiology in free-living animals (Part I)’.