Delta River Salmon Counting

ADF&G approached us to help with their weekly salmon counts on the Delta River. Even with poor winter lighting and sub-zero temperatures we were able to get decent counts; equal to those of manned aircraft flights.

Fish and Game has a challenging job. Setting commercial fishery limits and recreational fishing season dates requires rigorous monitoring of population levels and health. Part of this equation is figuring out how many salmon make it back to their spawning grounds. 

There is a small army across Alaska conducting weekly counts across nearly all salmon bearing waters every summer. They travel by air, foot, and boat counting carcasses and live fish to ensure population stocks are strong for the future of subsistence users and Alaska’s commercial fishing industry.

Unfortunately this comes with a level of risk to biologists. Population counting in manned aircraft is necessarily slow and at low altitude, which is a dangerous mix for any aircraft. Many biologists have given their lives in this effort.

Providing an unmanned solution has the potential to save lives and increase the accuracy of population counts and environmental monitoring.

In that vein Aquilo is proud to be a part of this effort and is continuing to push development in this application of unmanned aircraft.

Tim Paszalek