Fixed-net fishing is a type of environmentally friendly, passive fishing. It involves predicting the routes of fish runs and waiting for them to come into large arrays of net. Unlike fishing methods that trawl around indiscriminately to catch large fish quantities from a large boat, this method minimizes damage to the environment and helps preserve resources. The fixed-net method is best applicable to catching sardine, horse mackerel, sea bream, yellowtail and squid. The net consists of a network of large hedge nets in the paths of migrating fish, and bag nets to catch them.
The goal is to know when, where, and how large a haul of what types of fish are available in these fixed nets at any given time. This way, fishermen can maximize their profits and minimize disturbance per trip out to their fixed nets.
From the machine-learning perspective, there is very little data available, be it echograms that are sufficiently annotated and labeled, or seasonal history that is geographically dependent. By the time you stratify any dataset to these variables, the dataset obviously becomes too sparse.
Echograms in and around the fixed nets can be produced using modern sonar sensors. But they are impossible to read without experience. On a case-by-case basis, expert fishermen are able to interpret them to assess in real-time the likely number and types of fish present at that particular moment.
So the challenge becomes: how can AI engineers at this marine-sensing company build a high-performing, predictive fixed-net application—without waiting for years worth of catch data to build up?