Centre for Marine Applied Research

Seventy percent of Earth’s surface is covered by water. This water, especially freshwater and nearshore coastal water, is essential to, and affected by, human life and activity.

In Nova Scotia, Canada, 171 shellfish aquaculture licences generate 1,830 MT of product and over $5.32 million in annual revenue. However, barely a quarter of its nearshore coastal water is classified due to sampling capacity, and this has been an industry limiter. Starting in October 2020, Spiri undertook a proof of concept with the Centre for Marine Applied Research (CMAR) to address this issue through autonomous drone-based sampling.

CMAR is a special division of Perennia Food & Agriculture, Inc., performs research in support of environmental, scientific, and economic outcomes to support the sustainable use of Nova Scotia’s coastal resources.

Supported by the Atlantic Fisheries Fund, and performed in collaboration with Environment & Climate Change, Canada, this pilot project demonstrated the effectiveness of drone-based water sampling to detect the evidence of fecal coliform bacteria in and around shellfish beds or farms. This work has the potential to support the sampling requirements of the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program (CSSP) in classifying waters as save for harvest, thereby ensuring food safety and the sustainability of the shellfish industry.

Compared to current practices, our water sample system retrieves valid samples more quickly, and at reduced cost and risk. In this and other ways, CMAR and Spiri Robotics are addressing the challenges of comprehensive water testing.

For further reading:

preparing Spiri Mu for water sampling
checking the Spiri water sampling float