A low feed conversion ratio (FCR) is a very important criteria in salmon farming management, both economically and environmentally. Key information needed to achieve low FCR is the feeding rate of the fish. Too much feed (feed/min and feed/day) increases feed loss. Reduced feeding may decrease FCR, but also growth rate. Thus, finding the optimal feeding regime both in terms of daily ration and how to distribute this ration in time and space during the day is fundamental. Limited information is available about the individual feeding rate of fish. This may vary in terms of species, body weight, feeding history, fish density, pellet size, water temperature, oxygen, light level, and day length as well as rate and direction of change of light and temperature. Available data are mainly based on tank experiments and indirect measurements in large groups of fish, which give an aggregated and low resolution picture of the situation. A more fundamental understanding of feeding efficiency requires detailed insight into the individual behavioural processes that arise when feed is presented to the fish, or more exactly, how does a fish respond to the feed and how does the behaviour of its conspecifics and the environment affect its own feeding.
Telemetry is a power ful tool for remote monitoring of the behaviour of individuals or small groups of fish, and is extensively used as an monitoring technique in fish and fisheries biology. The idea of the project is to design and develop a “feeding sensitive” fish telemetry system that can be employed in studies of individual feeding behaviour in fish cages, where the primary objective is to improve feeding efficiency. This will be achieved through careful investigation of the behavioural and functional traits that signal f eed ingestion in fish, and combine this knowledge with new microelectronic sensor technology in a telemetry perspective. The system will provide a range of new possibilities for the aquaculture research community.