The appetite of the fish is affected by external factors, such as variation in water temperature, water quality, waves (in cages) and light conditions. With a normal feed control, the amount of feed to distribute during a given period is fixed. If there is variation in fish appetite there are no possibilities for controlling this. This requires one of two solutions: the use of restrictive feeding with no feed loss, (really underfeeding), or acceptance of a certain feed loss which is expensive and damaging to the environment.
Hand feeding is an old-fashioned system for regulating feed supply. The person who is feeding observes the appetite of the fish visually, and in this way regulates the amount of feed supplied according to fish appetite. One way to improve the feed control and utilization of feed is to use a feeder for basic feeding and hand feeding for topping up; this, however, requires manpower. Based on this, systems have been developed for automatic feed control which are of special interest in production units where large amounts of feed are used, such as large sea cages.
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