The group Robots in Service of the Environment (RSE, formerly RISE) is seeking funding on Kickstarter for its lionfish-capturing drone. According to its Kickstarter campaign page
, this underwater drone is “designed to help fishermen, environmentalists, and people living near the Atlantic overcome the invasive lionfish species without harming other wildlife.”
Why care about lionfish? Other than the fact that lionfish have venomous fins that can cause heart failure in humans, they can wreak havoc on aquatic ecosystems. Sure, they may not seem destructive, but RSE points out that lionfish eat fish that feed on algae. That uneaten algae is then left to grow on corals, eventually taking over the reefs and killing them.
The remotely operated drone, called Guardian LF1, is 8 inches in diameter and has a chamber that can hold captured lionfish. Low-voltage panels on the drone will stun the lionfish just long enough to put them into the holding chamber. Pretty cool! Plus, RSE points out that the fish won’t be killed or even harmed in the process.
However, they are also pushing an initiative to use the captured lionfish as a delicious, delectable treat. Some of their Kickstarter rewards include a lionfish recipe cookbook and an “Eat ‘Em to Beat ‘Em” sweatshirt. Yum!
RSE’s website explains that no traditional trapping or fishing methods have been effective in controlling the invasive lionfish population ― there are just too many fish for these efforts to make a dent. Hence, the creation of its ROV.
RSE has a $25,000 goal for this lionfish-capturing underwater drone.
Grab a copy of the March/April 2017 issue of Drone360
magazine to learn more about drones being used in fishing and hunting.