Drones Launched In Lake Superior To Track Fish Populations

Two Saildrone Explorer drones have been launched from Wisconsin into Lake Superior to support the Great Lakes Fishery.

The 25 day mission is led by the U.S. Geological Survey and brings together state, federal, tribal, and nonprofit partners from the U.S. and Canada.

The goal is to enhance fishery assessment methods in the Great Lakes, home to more than 100 native species of fish. Those fish support thousands of commercial and recreational jobs.

The Saildrone Explorers are 23 feet long and have sensors that measure fish distribution and other data 24/7. The drones are carbon-neutral and virtually silent.

Researchers hope to use them to better understand the impact of large ships on fish and to track rainbow smelt, an invasive fish species.

Saildrone says their drones been used around the world, sailing 800,000 nautical miles and 18,000 days in total.

This is the second year of the multi-year drone mission in the Great Lakes. Last summer, two drones were launched from Holland, Michigan, sailing up Lake Michigan, through the Straits of Mackinac, and down Lake Huron.

You can follow Saildrone’s mission blog here. You can find more pictures and video of the launch here.