Nordic SiP helps locate fishing traps and nets

  • May 17, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Norwegian company Innomar Ocean Technology is using Nordic Semiconductor’s IoT technology in a smart buoy designed to help locate fishing traps, longlines and nets.

The Sunfish smart buoy uses the cellular IoT connectivity of Nordic’s low power nRF9160 SiP with multimode LTE-M and NB-IoT modem with GNSS to transmit its location to the cloud. Users can then track the trap location from their smartphone.

“This device can simply be attached to fishing gear using a line,” said Simen Dovland, CTO at Innomar Ocean Technology. “It can reduce the time and cost spent looking for a catch and equipment, and therefore minimise the CO2 emissions of each retrieval trip. This is responsible and profitable fishing.”

The nRF9160 SiP combines cellular network location data with GNSS trilateration for precise position monitoring, which helps reduce the number of traps being lost in the ocean. This also helps decrease instances of ghost fishing, where lost traps continue to catch fish and other sea creatures, which is detrimental to conservation efforts and can result in the unnecessary deaths of marine life.

Using the DigiCatch app available for iOS and Android, users can see the location of all their devices, as well as view the distance to each buoy in metres. Users will also be alerted if a device moves outside the set perimeter. When locating fishing gear, the app provides a direction arrow for easy navigation, and can show current direction in real time. The app can also be integrated with chart plotters, including Olex and BarentsWatch.

The smart buoy can achieve a battery life of up to three months, using alkaline AA batteries, thanks, in part, to the power consumption of the nRF9160 SiP, which supports both PSM and eDRX power saving modes. For LTE-M and NB-IoT, the PSM floor current is as low as 2.7µA, and with an eDRX interval of 655s the average current is 6µA for LTE-M and 9µA for NB-IoT.

“The power consumption was important to us, because the battery needs to be able to last for the extended periods of time that the different fishing gear is in the ocean,” said Dovland. “The powerful Arm processor and CPU capabilities were also major drawcards. The Nordic SDK software development kit was also very helpful in bringing our design faster to the market.”

Copenhagen-based Onomondo is bringing its SoftSIM to cellular IoT end-products based on Nordic’s nRF9160 low power SiP. The collaboration between Nordic and Onomondo should make it easier for cellular IoT device makers to add SoftSIM to their nRF91-based designs, simplifying development, reducing costs and shortening time to market.