We have identified multiple solutions to mitigate our systems from having FAD (Fish Aggregating Device) effects.
During our environmental monitoring, small groups of dolphinfish, yellowtail, red snappers, sardines, pilot fish, and other fish species were recorded swimming in the vicinity of and underneath the system. Fish presence was also well observed in close proximity to ghost nets and plastic debris (including those encountered far from the system). In some cases, frogfish and other pelagic fish were found taking shelter inside nets and plastic debris.
That said, we must continue our work and our monitoring efforts to truly understand the behaviors of our system with the natural environment. Once we are in a collection phase. The collection timing, currently scheduled for every 6-8 weeks, will play a part in mitigation efforts. Extracting the plastic from the water will remove some of the food and shelter opportunities that would attract our technology as a FAD.
As this is a new technology, we will study the relationship between marine life and plastic accumulation in order to fine-tune the plastic collection schedule. This not only improves the collection efficiency but decreases the risk of harm to the natural environment.
Furthermore, a comprehensive study on fish aggregation is currently ongoing in collaboration with Miami University