Image of AE-FIshBit

Photo credit: © Xenia Pérez Sitja


The 2nd AQUAEXCEL2020 newsletter (March 2017) contained a very interesting interview with Dr. Jaume Pérez-Sánchez from the Institute of Aquaculture Torre de la Sal (IATS-CSIC) in Spain. Jaume is one of the team behind AE-FishBIT - implanted biosensors for remote monitoring of the overall performance of fish. AE-FishBIT has had some exciting developments over the past 2 and a half years. Read on to find out more!

In May 2019, AE-FishBIT’s design and functional validation was reported in an Open Access publication (Martos-Sitcha et al., Frontiers in Physiology 10:667, 2019, DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2019.00667). This smart device for tracking farmed fish behaviour is the result of collaborative work among biologists, engineers and bioinformaticians from two institutes of CSIC (IATS, IMB-CNM) and three institutes of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (IU-ECOAQUA, IUMA, IDeTIC) in collaboration with CCMAR (Centro de Ciências do Mar do Algarve, Portugal).

AE-FishBIT is a tiny and light device (less than one gram) composed of a tri-axial accelerometer, a microprocessor, a battery and a RFID tagging system for quick-smart individual identification. The device is designed to be attached to the fish operculum to monitor physical activity by mapping acceleration variations in x- and y-axes, while records of operculum beats (z-axis) serve as a measurement of respiratory frequency.

The initial functional validation with gilthead sea bream and European sea bass juveniles in swimming test chambers, highlighted the high correlation of oxygen consumption and fish activity with the calculated AE-FishBIT records. Further AE-FishBIT studies with free-swimming sea bream and sea bass in rearing tanks show that age, photoperiod, space availability or progression of disease outcome in parasitized fish alter diurnal/nocturnal activity. AE-FishBIT is also able to discriminate reactive and proactive fish when animals are challenged with low oxygen concentrations. Current experiments are focused on the effects of functional feeds in fish behaviour and its synchronizing with the environment.

Functional sea bream and sea bass tests, conducted at the Institute of Aquaculture Torre de la Sal (IATS-CSIC) and ULPGC (IU-ECOAQUA), are part of the work of WP8: Implanted biosensors for remote fish monitoring. The current work of this WP also involves other partners in the project (INRA, WU, NOFIMA, IMR) to focus their efforts on the attachment procedures and the functional validation in other fish species (rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon).

Main features and operational use are shown in the video available at The video is aimed at the general public and also at aquaculture enterprises interested in the patented device for selective breeding and welfare assessment of their farmed stocks.

In October 2019, the main achievements of using AE-FishBIT as a new tool for individual monitoring of metabolic traits in farmed fish was presented in the AQUAEXCEL2020 Brokerage Event taking place at Aquaculture Europe 2019 in Berlin.

For more information contact WP8 leader Jaume Pérez-Sánchez (

Content created on: Thu, 23/04/2020 - 13:30. Last update: Thu, 23/04/2020 - 13:31.