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Drones helping to count crabs in Devon

Staff Writer |
Drones are being used to stop researcher’s safety being at risk during their surveys of marine life in river estuaries in Devon.

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Flying 20m above the water, the drones make the estuaries surveys safer, faster and more accurate. These studies are needed every four years in Devon to monitor the numbers of crab ‘tiles’ set on river banks to trap soft skinned crabs.

Lauren Parkhouse, an environmental officer at Devon and Severn Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA), explained: “A 2012 survey of the Exe estuary on the south coast of Devon took 17 officers and volunteers four months during four spring tides.”

“In contrast a survey just completed with a drone took six days during two spring tides and only one IFCA officer needed to be present for the first day.”

Crab tiling could change the complexity, diversity and abundance of crabs and organisms in sensitive estuaries and effect bird behaviour over large areas.


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