In 2010, the Marine Scotland Act was introduced, which mandates the removal of all scientific equipment, including the anchor, from the seabed during studies. Likewise, researchers and scientists who conduct experiments face the challenge of ensuring the safety and accessibility of their equipment to prevent the loss of valuable data and the costs associated with equipment recovery. Historically, the recovery process of lost gear can be time-consuming – affecting project deliverables and timelines and ultimately dangerous. 

HOW WE STARTED 

First generation of the ARC made of stainless steel

To address these challenges, in 2016 we partnered with Marine Scotland to help these groups take a proactive approach while ensuring compliance by floating, developing, and releasing the prototype of the ARC – an acoustic release canister. The first version featured a stainless-steel rope canister with floatation that could be attached to the Innovasea acoustic receiver, and which allowed the hauling up of the seabed anchor once it had risen to the sea surface. This system was functional but was prone to extensive corrosion. This discovery brought about a Delrin version of the canister and we field-tested several prototypes with the support of Marine Scotland. 

HOW ITS GOING 

the first generation of the ARC & the most recent version

Since its release in 2017, the ARC is now a 4th generation product – with only a few metal parts, having gone through 3 field-tested upgrade programs over 3 years to enhance its reliability for long-term deployments in challenging marine environments.  

THE ARC AT SEA 

an arc being deployed

There are approximately 500 ARCs across the UK and Irish waters that serve various purposes. The most common application of the ARC is for fish tracking. Over the years, they have been an integral part of several large acoustic telemetry fish monitoring projects and they have been supplied to fisheries researchers in the UK, Ireland, Canada, and the USA. 

HOW IT WORKS? 

Innovasea VR100 in use on a vessel

Activating and recovering the ARC is straightforward. Using a secure acoustic transmission protocol, we can speak to the ARC from the sea surface and check its depth, tilt, and general health. Once activated, the ARCs floats will bring the Acoustic release receiver to the surface bringing the canister and anchor along with it.

WHAT NEXT? 

ARCS on the back of a vessel

Through feedback, advancement in technology and expert engineering, we are finding innovative ways to mitigate known and predicted complications of recovering scientific equipment from the seabed and reflecting those findings in newer versions of the ARC.  

“Our dedication to discovery drives us to push the boundaries of technology, making every new version of the ARC the best it can be. We understand the critical role the ARC plays in preserving scientific equipment and marine ecosystems, and that responsibility fuels our commitment to delivering a product that exceeds expectations and sets new standards in autonomous recovery systems” 

– Terry Edwards, Technical Director RS Aqua 

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