Categories: Projects, Surveillance
Tags: Hikvision

Protecting valuable seafood products at an open-water farm with Hikvision


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To protect its open-water clam farm 24/7, the Verace Cooperative in Sacca di Goro in Ferrara, Italy, has deployed a smart Bi-spectrum thermal and video imaging solution from Hikvision. This unit uses an in-camera Machine Learning algorithm to spot and track poachers entering the farm in small boats and sends automated alerts to members of the cooperative in real time. By protecting the farm and the clams in even the foggiest conditions, the Hikvision solution is ensuring commercial success for the co-op and all its members.

The challenge: Italian clam-growing cooperative needed better technology to combat theft

For fish and shellfish farms, theft is a constant risk. This is often amplified in areas that have heavy fog and as a result, low visibility. In such cases, it is very easy for poachers to enter fish and shellfish farms using small boats and to quickly steal high-value seafood products before being detected.

This was the challenge facing the Verace Cooperative of clam growers in the Ferrara province of Italy. Until recently, the cooperative used a traditional closed circuit television (CCTV) security solution, which often missed the poachers’ small boats due to the fog. Additionally, the solution had to be monitored constantly by a member of the co-op, which was extremely tiring and time consuming.

The solution: Bi-spectrum thermal and video imaging cameras from Hikvision

To minimise theft while also making security more automated and more efficient, the Verace Cooperative worked with local Italian installer to deploy a smart thermal-imaging and video solution from Hikvision. The solution included Hikvision Thermal and Visual Bi-spectrum Pan Tilt and Zoom Speed Dome cameras (DS-2TD4167/WY and DS-2TD4228/W). Without readily available, on-the-grid energy sources on the open water, installing a traditional security system is wholly impractical. Therefore, the co-op installed cameras powered by solar energy on small platforms in the sea farm.

As a key element of the solution, the Hikvision R&D team created an onboard machine learning algorithm for the bi-spectrum cameras. The deep learning-based vessel detection makes it possible to identify boats below five meters long, as most of the poachers enter the farm in small boats. This algorithm allows the vessels to be tracked using both thermal imaging and video imaging technology, even when the fog is thick.

If the cameras spot a boat in the restricted area, an alert is sent automatically to a member’s mobile phone via the HikConnect app and the end-user can view video evidence of the incident, supporting fast, effective responses.

Because the solution accurately determines the speed of boats entering the farm, members of the co-op can accurately assess the potential theft risk and react accordingly. Specifically, if vessels are moving quickly, the chances of clam theft are very low, but slow-moving vessels are more likely to be involved in crime and can therefore be questioned as appropriate.

Benefits: The solution sets a new benchmark for sea farm security

Thanks to the Hikvision solution, the Verace Cooperative has dramatically improved its security capabilities, while also eliminating the need to manage CCTV video feeds manually. As a result, the cooperative is seeing a reduction in losses due to theft of clams, while also freeing time to focus on core, revenue-generating activities.

The Hikvision solution is also helping Verace Cooperative to protect its valuable clams very efficiently compared to competing solutions, which often use pairs of cameras and radar devices to track boats at sea. With just a single Hikvision unit providing both thermal and video capabilities, no radar unit is required, delivering major equipment and maintenance cost savings for the members. In addition, powered by the sun, Hikvision’s self-contained camera setups consume zero electricity, delivering further cost savings for the company, as well as reducing its carbon footprint.

Based on its decision to deploy the Hikvision solution, Verace Cooperative has set a new, much higher benchmark for security in sea farms in Ferrara and beyond. As a reference project, this demonstrates the power of Hikvision thermal and visual imaging technologies to reduce the theft of clams and other valuable seafood and offers a replicable approach for other producers in the region who wish to increase their security and protect their livelihoods in the same way.

As well as detecting and tracking boats, the Hikvision cameras can also be equipped with a boat-counting algorithm. The Verace Cooperative hopes to use this in the future to understand exactly how many vessels leave and enter the farm during a day, a week, or a month and whether theft is still taking place. This crucial capability makes the solution suitable for a range of other applications, including ship-counting for port authorities and other maritime organisations.

With 24/7 visibility of boats entering the sea farm, the Verace Cooperative is ideally placed to combat theft and to protect its vital seafood assets. This means that the livelihood of the co-op’s members is being protected and that the sea farm will remain commercially viable long into the future.

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