A good investment can save a lot of money in the long run
The Riverwatcher from Vaki provides return on investment like no other monitoring system.
There are many methods to monitor fish and all solution providers will try to tell you their solution is the best. They all provide different results, different data and might not be easy to compare.
We could tell you that the Riverwatcher is the number one fish counter in the world and the best available monitoring method, but we won´t. It is better that you hear from experienced consultants who have studied different solutions scientifically for the Scottish government and placed them in a decision model for unbiased comparison. Then you can conclude for yourselves.
The publication we are referring to is called “Technical, Logistical, and Economic Considerations for the Development and Implementation of a Scottish Salmon Counter Network” (2016 Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Vol 7 no 2) It provides an extensive review of electronic counter technologies and their potential for implementation in Scotland’s rivers. All major types of proven counter technologies are considered and software implemented by companies and government agencies worldwide. The overall objective of this report was to inform the future development of a fish counter network for Scotland. http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/03/5757/11
The results are interesting. No, the Riverwatcher is not the cheapest solution. In fact, if you only look at the startup cost, it is always cheapest install an underwater camera into the water. Some might call it monitoring but it is mostly videos of nothing. All surveillance type solutions have motion detection software that can be used to limit the time needed to watch non-fish videos to actually monitor fish. Even with such software it generates a lot of non-fish video clips. Only 3% of recorded videos actually include a fish.
Therefore, when operation cost is considered as well as startup cost, things change dramatically. The amount of time and effort (money) needed to make any practical use of such solutions will quickly eat up the money saved on the low startup cost. The capital cost of a Video System is estimated at 51.500 GBP but the 10-year operational cost is 721.864 GBP. In comparison the Riverwatcher capital cost is estimated 95.223 GBP but the 10-year operational cost is 141.364 GBP (Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Vol 7 no 2 (2016) p.206)
Long story short, the low operation cost, based on the quality of the data and the automatic features provided with the Riverwatcher, made it the best long term solution overall in the case scenarios examined. The Riverwatcher scored highest more often than any other solution. It has proven to be excellent for automatically enumerating total population counts without ever handling a fish and unlike most monitoring systems it works well in murky water.
“We provide a review of the proprietary software (Winari) included with the Riverwatcher fish counter. Literature review and personal communication with the manufacturer identified Winari to be both a hardware controller and data collection, analysis, and export interface. Unlike the hydroacoustic multibeam sonars, fish data is only collected when an object breaks the optical beam in the counter. Fish length, size, timestamp, visibility, temperature, and image data are collected when the counter is triggered. Data can be exported separately or synchronized, allowing the user to verify each fish with ease and accuracy. We found the functionality of Winari to be superb, as it provides the user with a multitude of verification options to optimize data quality control.” (Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Vol 7 no 2 (2016)
Therefore we believe the Riverwatcher software both our stationary PC software and the much similar web based application where data and videos (of fish!) are easily accessible and sharable online, contributes greatly to this conclusion in the report.