Ashland Saildrone 2

ASHLAND, Wisc.–Researchers are changing the way they monitor fish populations in the Great Lakes.

Tuesday, August 9, researchers welcomed community leaders and fishery managers to the lakeshores of Ashland, Wisconsin, showcasing new state-of-the-art technologies.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) and Great Lakes Fishery Commission partnered with Saildrone Inc. to come up with a robot-like sail drone, as well as an autonomous underwater vehicle. These tools are used to monitor prey fish populations.

Most fishery research on the Great Lakes is done using large watercrafts that may cause disturbances when approaching schools of fish. The new drones are a good alternative to relying on a 107 ft. boat to gather underwater research.

The kick off event in Ashland was the first step in a month-long study on the fish in Lake Superior. The goal is to bring the drones around to study other fisheries in the Great Lakes, excluding Lake Ontario.